A.Y. McDonald Performance Lobby
From the moment one approaches the entrance to the A.Y. McDonald Lobby, the Center "tips its hat" in welcome as the glass curtain wall facing south and west pitches out at 10 degrees. Upon entering, one's eye is drawn both skyward by the 33 foot height and forward by the warm, inviting color of the walls which seem to "open their arms" in welcome.
Entrances to John and Alice Butler Hall are marked with doors that introduce a stylized treble clef theme that is carried through the Center in a number of forms as well as in upswept wings. The lobby has ample space to accommodate comfortably patrons gathering before and after a performance as well as serving as the location for special University celebrations and dinners.
John and Alice Butler Hall
The University's principal performance venue, John and Alice Butler Hall, is an intimate, breathtaking space that can comfortably accommodate close to 1,000 patrons in performances by University performing arts groups as well as local, regional, and national touring troupes in music, dance, and drama.
The proscenium stage is also designed to be versatile enough to be home to important campus functions such as Opening Convocation, Honors Convocation, Seminary Commencement, Baccalaureate, and All-University Worship Services. The stage, with it's sixty-foot proscenium opening; fly-tower that can accommodate sets for various performing art forms; a versatile, movable acoustical shell; and a suspended stage floor that can accommodate all dance forms provides flexibility that supports a wealth of performance options.
The warm, earth-tone color palette that is continued in the hall underscores the warm, friendly welcome one receives from design elements upon entering the Center through the A.Y. McDonald Lobby. Audiences and performers or speakers will be able to interact with one another since the distance from the lip of the stage to the top row of the balcony is just less than ninety feet.
Charles and Elizabeth Bisignano Gallery
The glass-walled Charles and Elizabeth Bisignano Gallery, located at the east edge of the A.Y. McDonald Lobby and the west edge of the Cybercafé, is at one of the busiest crossroads of Heritage Center. Art galleries at colleges and universities are - more often than not - located away from major centers of campus activity.
The Bisignano Gallery, one of the many opportunities for Art and Worship by Osmosis in the Center, is situated along the major student traffic pattern from the South to North Campus. A pedestrian pathway takes students from the Center's south entrance on Bennett Street, up a stairway to the second floor, along Main Street, and out the north entrance on Grace Street.
Cybercafe and American Trust Lounge
The Cybercafé with seating for 124, is a beautiful, light-filled, and colorful space for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy a meal or a snack. The University's traditional dining hall in Peters Commons that has served generations of Spartans has, over the last decade, reached its capacity in its ability to serve students. This new food venue provides a much needed second space for students to dine.
The floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall in the café creates an environment for diners that makes one feel as though one is both inside the building and outside all at once, with a view to the west entrance of Charles and Romona Myers Center and what will soon be developed into a new South Quadrangle. In spring, summer, and fall, a door in the curtain wall provides the means to use a patio that will be alive with tables and bright, multi-colored umbrellas.
One of the most interesting features of the Cybercafé is the American Trust Lounge. Cantilevered over the lower level of the Cybercafé, the lounge has a tree house effect, a perch from which to view activity on the first floor of the café and a fresh perspective on the South Quad. This will be one of the campus' most popular places to study, work on assignments, or relax.
The Babka Theatre is a 200 seat "black box" theatre that provides exceptional space for drama and dance, and can also function as a classroom and lecture hall. The only part of the Center that departs from its earth-toned color palette, this space has black walls, floors, exposed catwalks, and ceiling as well as black velour curtaining.
This space provides extremely versatile, first-class instructional space for a nascent drama program. A set/scene shop, costume shop, and dressing rooms provide the essential backstage support that will create the opportunity to accelerate the drama program's growth and maturation.
The theatre also provides instructional and rehearsal space for an evolving dance program. Already in place is a mirror wall and balance bars. Perhaps, most importantly, a sprung floor was installed that reduces the possibility of injury to dancers upon which a Marley dance floor can be rolled out for rehearsal and performances.
The space also can function as a venue for small guest lectures and as a classroom. "Black box" theatres general do not have windows while the Babka Theatre has five windows that can be left uncurtained for classes and guest lectures.
Mark and Cheryl Falb Balcony
The Mark and Cheryl Falb Balcony offers patrons and guests one of the most dramatic views on the University campus. From the balcony, one can observe the entire performance hall lobby as well as the Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center, the football stadium, South Campus, and beyond the campus to the hills that surround Dubuque to the south and west. The balcony also provides easy access to the balcony area of John and Alice Butler Hall.
Sparty's Convenience Store
Across Main Street from the Choral Rehearsal Room is Sparty's, the University's new convenience store. In response to student requests for a campus store that would carry sundry, personal, and convenience items, space was allocated for such a store from the earliest planning. The name, of course, refers to Spartan Nation's iconic, playful symbol, Sparty, which will have a strong presence throughout the store.