Chenery Auditorium rehabilitation project received the city of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission’s 2011 Merit Award. The Commission’s award is given annually during National Historic Preservation Month and recognizes an outstanding rehabilitation of a historical structure.
The Commission also recognized the Friends of Chenery, Kingscott Associates, and Kalamazoo Public Schools with the Historic Preservation Award of Merit, annually given to the individual or group that actively promote and contribute to historic preservation in the city of Kalamazoo. Working together, the Friends of Chenery led the effort to raise more than $7 million dollars for the project.
Chenery Auditorium was not an ordinary high school auditorium when it opened in 1924. The auditorium, with superb acoustics, has served as a classic performance and concert hall for the entire community for more than eighty-five years. Today, it is home to numerous performing arts groups including the prestigious Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.
Over the years Chenery retained its acoustical brilliance, but the interiors succumbed to wear and age. The Friends of Chenery led the Public/Private planning and fund raising effort to restore it into a premier performance hall. The scope included restoring the performance auditorium; creating a new lobby; and updating the entry, corridors, and back stage areas. The project focused on retaining Chenery’s historical design integrity.