John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Location Washington, DC

Client Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Services Estimating & Cost Management, Project Management, Project Monitoring

Project Value $200 million

The landmark John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts embarked upon a 15-year, $200 million-plus renovation program. One of the most important projects undertaken was the renovation of the Concert Hall. The Center requested Hill’s expertise, through its peer review consultant, Wiss, Janney, Elstner, to assist it in planning for and managing the construction of the renovation. Because the building was designed and built before federal standards for accessibility were established, extensive revisions to the auditorium and corridor spaces of the Concert Hall were constructed. Demands for additional office space required renovation of back-of-house areas. Electrical, mechanical, plumbing, vertical transportation, life safety, and security system upgrades were designed for the entire structure with the Concert Hall portion being included in the renovation package. The renovation also included upgrading to a state-of-the-art acoustical system, renovation of the pipe organ, and refurbishment of theater seating (2,448 fixed and 500 loose chairs) and chandeliers.

Hill’s initial scope of work included a schedule review to determine the feasibility of completing the construction within the available window so as not to interfere with scheduled performances and the evaluation of contracting strategies to help ensure completion of the project within the contemplated time frame. Hill initially performed a feasibility analysis of the construction plans and specifications and time of performance and recommended changes to the schedule and milestone sections, as well as incentive performance clauses for incorporation into the specifications. 

Hill’s involvement continued with the review of the contractor’s baseline CPM schedule and recommendations as to its reasonableness and adherence to the contract. Hill prepared a summary level CPM against which it could monitor and report renovation progress. Special consideration was given to the procurement of long-lead items, such as acoustics; the removal and replacement of
seating; the removal and reinstallation of the organ; and the removal, restoration, and reinstallation
of the chandelier. 

As the construction phase neared completion, Hill assisted in the coordination of the National Symphony Orchestra’s move into the completed Hall. This involved the preparation of a move-in schedule that coordinated the activities of the Center’s facilities including stagehands, ticket sales, public relations, management information systems, etc.