While many area businesses have halted in-office meetings and gatherings, the Academy Center of the Arts has successfully and safely responded to the need for corporate and organizational groups to come together in the midst of a pandemic.
Rick Loving, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer with BWX, Technologies, Inc., says “At BWXT, our conference rooms and training facilities were designed around the most efficient use of the space. As such, these standard size classrooms and smaller conference rooms could not accommodate the strict social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.” Empty large spaces at the Academy Center of the Arts were a perfect solution.
“Meeting in person is important. A person’s health and safety is most important of all. And, for that reason, our ability to gather has been limited,” said Sarah Proctor, Special Events and Corporate Rentals Manager. “That is why, in 2020, our staff created an affordable and responsible business meeting rental option.”
Trainings, seminars, workshops and planning sessions are just a few of the meeting types coordinated in our venues.
“While we were able to transition some of these activities to on-line and remote learning, certain programs require a high level of group discussion and engagement to be fully effective,” says Loving.
The most commonly used space for COVID-19 friendly rentals is the expansive 70-foot x 70-foot Warehouse Theatre, equipped with a projector, screen, HDMI hook-up, sound system, and high speed internet. The sheer size and tech capabilities of the Warehouse Theatre and other on-site locations has made our venues the top workspace alternatives for area businesses.
While large open space is a requirement for in-person activities during COVID-19, our facilities staff also installed top of the line air filtration systems to keep patrons and rental clients safe. The Warehouse Theatre and the Historic Academy Theatre venues feature air filtration technology fitted with industrial strength HEPA air filters, with fresh air circulating through the systems at all times and airflow constantly double filtered.
“Our HVAC uses the same type of filtration systems that most hospitals and medical facilities use, which are 2 inch pleated pre filter and then 95% bag style hepa filters,” said Feed Scheib, Facilities Manager. “After filtration, the circulated air is UV disinfected as it passes through the supply cabinet which also has UV lights to sterilize the air. The HVAC system also has steam humidifiers that keep the building at the perfect humidity level for patrons, while areas in the sub-basement which could sometimes have too much humidity, are equipped with a dehumidifier.”
Upon entering the Warehouse or Historic Theatre, all meeting participants are screened for temperatures using a no-contact health screening device. Then, one or two participants are seated at large round or rectangular tables, spaced no less than 10-feet apart. Participants are required to be masked at all times during their visit.
All business meeting rentals at the Academy include routine venue cleaning, attentive staff, audio / visual needs, tables and chairs, and all required meeting set-up and break-down.
“Step one is to provide a safe space,” said Proctor. “Step two is to make it affordable and accessible.
Daily rentals range in cost between $100 – $350, depending on the number of attendees, venue space used, and hours needed in the space.
“The Academy has set the standard for the safe operation of rental facilities during this very challenging time,” said Loving. “They have worked closely with state and local health officials to ensure they have the most up-to-date guidance and are committed to following the recommended standards and safety protocols.”
“The Academy staff takes the time to understand your facility needs and your own internal health and safety requirements to develop a rental package that will lead to a successful outcome.”
For all business meeting inquiries, please contact Sarah Proctor at [email protected].