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TOPIC: Stadium seating

Stadium seating 13 Jan 2003 22:01 #28074

I currently have a basic rectangular auditorium with a sloped floor. Fifteen
seats across 4 then aisle, 7 then aisle, then 4. Center section of 7 are
staggered side to side to allow for over the shoulder viewing. My wish is to
convert the back one-third to stadium seating (7 rows). Width of auditorium
is 33 feet. My biggest question is the aisles. I assume my entrance aisles width
(2) into the aud would be same as doorway width. What would be required for
the incline aisles up the stadium section?? What is the common seat width?
Is a 12" rise and 42" tread correct for the seating area?
I ask this as we are a community owned theatre and may do much of the construction ourselves to save and to get the public involved.
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Re: Stadium seating 15 Jan 2003 13:39 #28075

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The only known reason to convert anything to Stadium Seating is to counter a competitive move by another theatre.

Do you have another theatre nearby with stadium seating? If you do not have another theatre nearby with stadium seating that is siphoning off your business, it would almost be irresponsible for you to spend this money, as it is totally unnecessary.

That said, an architect can create stadium seating in any space, all it takes is money. There are no words that you can type here that will let anybody guess what it will take to put in stadium seating. It would take a visit from a licensed architect and a civil engineer to figure it out. They must know the local codes, the city must be consulted.

Stadium Seating is cool. Done well it can enhance the cinema going experience. Done badly it can make a person never go to your theatre again. Since you already have an auditorium, what are the major complaints of your customers? Are the seats clean and comfortable? Are there cup holders? Does the room smell of mold and mildew? Are the bathrooms kept clean? Does your staff step up when a customer appears?

Please note that seniors hate Stadium Seating. Who are your primary customers?

Ian Price
Owner and operator of the Rialto Cinemas Lakeside, Santa Rosa California.

My business partner Ky Boyd is "Rialto" on this site. Just so there is no confusion.
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Re: Stadium seating 15 Jan 2003 17:16 #28076

Maybe I needed to post more info..
This theatre was originally built in the 30's, operated by various owners, gutted by the last one and remodeled by the community through volunteer efforts, very basic used seats were purchased (no cupholders), refurbed by volunteers, and installed by same. After changes in concession setup, storage space was lost. Light intrusion from the lobby into the auditorium is a distraction. The facility is also used by local groups for live presentations sometimes requiring a sound technician.
These needs:
1)Reduce light intrusion by having offset entrance aisle.
2)Create storage area under the seating floor.
3)Create a platform at the rear of the aud for a sound tech.
4)Add new seats (with cupholders) to this section of the aud.

Our largest customer volume is the children for the G's and women for the romance's.

What information I was hoping to gain here is what has worked for locations that have this type of seating and any problems beside falling down the stairs. I also think "irresponsible" is an impolite response. I have worked this theatre since day one, maintaining facilities, operating projection, processing financials, and planning for its future. I have institiuted on screen video advertising, annual fundraising, and creating our own booking process.
In this area we have a Do-It-Yourself mindset but always adhere to the regulations and have passed all inspections. Our employees are courteous and facility is in top notch condition. But there is always room for improvement.

What I need are examples of layouts that are working to decide how this may fit into our auditorium. We have expirenced, local contractors that can construct whatever is required.

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Re: Stadium seating 15 Jan 2003 17:22 #28077

  • Ken Layton
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Don't forget that if you install stadium seating, you *might* have to install an elevator! Look very closely at your local building codes and regs so you don't get any last minute surprises.
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Re: Stadium seating 17 Jan 2003 20:17 #28078

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I have 2 theatres with 3 and 2 screens. Both have sloped floors and some variations of stadium seating in the balconies. IMHO there is zero reason to go from slope to stadium and especially in your situation. A community theatre has plenty to worry about other than this! Arm rests can be replaced by themselves to include cup holders. All the rest seems basic. I would suggest a long ride and go look at 10 theatres. What part of Iowa? I used to live in Parnell and work all over the state.

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley
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Re: Stadium seating 20 Jan 2003 17:10 #28079

Dear Rialto of Iowa

I think you aren't getting the advice you requested. We are cinema architects based in Toronto, Canada, and over the past twenty years, we have done stadium conversions, splits, addition, restorations of historic theatres, and of course hundreds of new multiplexes all over the world. I see nothing wrong with your idea of creating a stadium in the rear portion of your auditorium. Depending on the configuration of the theatre, you might accomplish several objectives with this idea.
1. You can create storage under the stadium
2. You may be able to solve the light intrusion at your entrances by creating a couple of right angle bends in the entrances, utilizing the space gained under the stadium.
3. With the wider row spacing, you can certainly add cupholders.
We generally use 44 inch rows, and an average seat width of 21". Without knowing what your local building code requirements are, we can't comment on aisle widths, step heights, etc. as there may be rules you have to follow. What we can do, however, is have a look at your theatre, if you can send us plans and a cross section (very important) to look at, or post them on this web site for comments. You can e-mail us or visit our web site. Just click on these options at the top of this response.
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Re: Stadium seating 23 Jan 2003 14:46 #28080

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We were built in 1937 and have always had a riser (stadium seat) balcony. We're also a 'shoe-box" (rectangular shape). Rialto of Iowa's description of his idea for stadium seating got me to go up and measure ours...12" rise and 33" tread. Steps are two per rise, and when we restored the theater in 1994, we had to widen the aisles to 36" (from 29"). Still, I am puzzled as to why your theater wasn't built with a riser-balcony...most 'shoebox' style theaters at that time were.

[This message has been edited by Driordan (edited January 23, 2003).]
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Re: Stadium seating 24 Jan 2003 16:47 #28081

Our theatre was built in 1932 with a seating capacty of close to 400 and your "shoebox" description is very accurate. A 2-story streetfront to provide for office and projection booth and a "box" auditorium. We started remodel in 1995, purchased used seating and re-built them ourselves, enlarged the stage area for better live performance use, and ended up with 286 seats.
I have measured steps in a stadium at our closest competitor, to get the 42" run and 12" rise. That auditorium was just constructed and opened fall of 2002.
Our current seats back to back are at 38". My assumption is that the seat style may play a role in the back to back allowance, which in turn effects stair run. Do the seat manufacturers provide a suggested distance or is this again a case of local code?
"mesbursmith", I will get that information to you as soon as possible.
Driordan, at 33", is there sufficient walkspace or must the seat occupant always rise for people sitting to the inside to allow access to the aisle?
Thanks to all of you. These reponses are appreciated!
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