Preservation Merit Award to Shaker Heights School District, Shaker Schools
Foundation, and City Architecture for the rehabilitation of the 1931 Shaker Heights High
Completed in 1931, Shaker Heights High School auditorium was designed by Cleveland architects
Hubbell and Benes with high-quality traditional plaster and wood details. Over time, changes
including a thrust stage, theatrical lighting, fluorescent fixtures, and unsympathetic décor,
together with roof leaks and years of use, had eroded its original appearance. Recognizing the
auditorium’s special character, Shaker Schools Foundation made a commitment to raise the money
needed to restore it while integrating new state-of-the-art theatrical technologies, energy
efficient lighting, and HVAC equipment. The auditorium has been retrofitted with new rigging,
theatrical lighting, and audio systems carefully coordinated with the existing architecture.
New battens in recessed ceiling coves allow enhanced lighting without compromising the auditorium’s
architectural character. A thrust stage and demountable extensions, coordinated with movable
seating, provide flexible configurations for performances. Vintage plaster details, wrought iron,
and woodwork have been carefully restored, and existing seats have been refurbished. Original
chandeliers and other historic fixtures have been repaired, cleaned, and relamped. New elements
required to accommodate the updated theatrical systems are thoughtfully detailed to be sympathetic
with the character of the original space, with a new interior finish scheme designed by City
Architecture. According to Shaker Schools Foundation, restoring the auditorium to its original
beauty while updating its theatrical systems communicates the value the district places on the
arts as a component of the educational experience, and helps the district maintain its competitive
to return to the list of 2008 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.
for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.