University of North Carolina School of the Arts Selects Design Team for Stevens Center Renovation

The University of North Carolina (UNCSA) School of the Arts has announced the selection of nationally recognized Charlotte-based Little Diversified Architectural Consulting and Los Angeles-based Steinberg Hart as the design team who will lead the first phase of a comprehensive, multi-phase renovation of Historic Center Stevens in downtown Winston-Salem. The team was selected following a national search and was approved by the UNCSA Board of Directors at the April 29 meeting.

Little and Steinberg Hart will help determine the current cost and phasing strategy to maximize the $29.8 million allocation in North Carolina’s current state budget, approved in November 2021, for the first phase of the complete renovation of the building. UNCSA will continue to seek a combination of public and private funding for this and future phases of the comprehensive renovation.

The Little and Steinberg Hart team has planned, designed, and built more than 80 art centers that serve academic institutions and their surrounding communities. Little is recognized for its educational expertise in North Carolina with 400 higher education projects statewide including Queens University Gambrell Center, Charlotte Catholic High School Performing Arts Center, Central Piedmont Academic Center in Charlotte and the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. Steinberg Hart brings a national perspective and related experience, including the restored and reinvigorated performance hall of the Manhattan School of Music in New York, the iconic Pablo Center at Confluence for the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, an arts center for a growing cultural district in downtown Florence, South Carolina, and ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, which served as a national model for the integration of literacy, education and the performing arts in downtown Charlotte.

“We are thrilled to take the first real steps toward realizing our long-awaited and long-awaited dream to renovate Stevens Center,” said UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole. “It bodes well that we are working with the highly talented and nationally recognized team of Little and Steinberg Hart to lead this important project for both UNCSA and the greater Winston-Salem community. vibrant Stevens Center will boost our downtown economy and enhance our contribution to the City of Arts and Innovation.I am grateful that the State Legislative Leaders and the Governor, along with our Forsyth County Delegation and leadership of the UNC system, share our vision and recognize the importance and potential of this historic theater, and we look forward to their continued support as we move through this multi-phase process. work.

“We are delighted to have been selected for this exciting project,” said Melanie Reddrick, executive director in charge of Little, who will be the official architect. “The Stevens Center is an important historical treasure, and it has great meaning for UNCSA and the region. We will work closely with university and community stakeholders to breathe new life into this remarkable theater. When we are finished, we hope the Stevens Center brings joy to Winston-Salem for another 100 years.”

“The goal of bringing the Stevens Center into the 21st century while maintaining its historic significance in the community is a noble one, and the design team is thrilled to join UNCSA in this ambitious endeavor. We seek to create a reimagined building that will actively engage with the university and the surrounding arts district through memorable experiences that build community and connection,” said Delia Nevola AIA, general manager of Steinberg Hart, New York.

About the renovation

The Stevens Center will remain online and open for rehearsals and performances through at least the 2022-23 season. The first phase of the renovation, which is expected to last three years, will include establishing a final scope of work and budget for the project, developing the design and beginning the multi-year renovation process, including essential repairs. roof and building envelope and interior improvements. Pre-planning and design will begin immediately and is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, after which the entire building is expected to go dark for approximately two years during the renovation. Information on alternate venues for the UNCSA performance season, community programs and partner organizations during the time the Stevens Center is offline will be announced at a later date. The upcoming season (2022-23) will not be affected.

The historic Stevens Center is UNCSA’s largest learning laboratory, an economic engine for downtown Winston-Salem, and a cultural destination for residents and visitors. A preliminary concept master plan, developed in 2017 by Robert AM Stern Architects (RAMSA) and DLR Group, in consultation with members of the Winston-Salem community as well as faculty, staff and students, laid the groundwork for transforming the historic Stevens Center into a world-class performing arts venue.

Almost 40 years have passed since its last major renovation and the building is in need of modern repairs and upgrades. UNCSA will continue to seek input from the Winston-Salem community for the project, as well as partner organizations such as the Winston-Salem Symphony, Piedmont Opera, and National Black Theater Festival, among others, who use the Stevens Center . The objectives of the multi-phase comprehensive renovation include improving the guest and artistic experience for all constituents of the venue, making essential improvements to modernize the student learning experience, as well as making necessary repairs to the roof and building envelope. Efforts will be made to retain the original character of the building.

About the Stevens Center

Originally a 1929 silent movie theater, the Stevens Center is a neoclassical building that was restored and reopened in 1983 with a redesigned stage and backstage that can accommodate music, theater, dance and opera performances at the broadway scale.

Located in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the 1,300-seat theater is the primary performance space for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as well as the Winston Symphony Orchestra -Salem, Piedmont Opera, National Black Theater Festival and several other local arts organizations.

The Stevens Center has had a huge impact – locally as an economic catalyst for downtown development, regionally as a cultural anchor since the 1930s, and nationally as a springboard for careers in countless actors, dancers, technicians, musicians and others on stage. and behind the scenes.

Formerly the Carolina Theater, the facility was renamed for theater producer Roger L. Stevens during its initial renovation and reopened with a star-studded gala featuring the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Bernstein conducting and Isaac Stern as soloist, and Gregory Peck as master. of ceremonies. Guests present included Agnes de Mille, Cliff Robertson, Governor James B. Hunt, President and Mrs. Gerald Ford, and former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson.

The Stevens Center has hosted a series of notable events, including the world premieres of Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and four Tony Award-winning “Lost in Yonkers,” and “Jake’s Women,” a sold-out 19 performances with Alan Alda. The UNCSA Presents series launched in 2018 brought Broadway back to Winston-Salem with “Kinky Boots” followed by “Once,” plus performances from Kathy Mattea, Flor de Toloache, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Mavis Staples, the Del McCoury Band , Josh Ritter and more as part of the American Music series.

Other performances throughout the theater’s history have included “State Fair” by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Victor Borge, the Smothers Brothers, STOMP, Riders In The Sky, the Vienna Choir Boys, Bella Fleck, The Magic School Bus , Carol Channing and Rita Moreno, “Joseph and the Incredible Technicolor Dreamcoat”, Alison Krauss, the 35th anniversary reunion of “The Andy Griffith Show”, Gordon Lightfoot, Tony Bennett and the filming of the Chris Daughtry music video “September”.

About Little

Little is a national design firm recognized for designing exceptional solutions that improve customer performance in the community, retail, workplace and healthcare sectors. With nearly 400 professionals, the company is recognized for its educational expertise in North Carolina and the design of complex renovation projects. Little designed the Queens University Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for Arts & Civic Engagement, the Chapman Culture Center in Spartanburg, SC, and the Central Piedmont Community College Overcash Academic & Performing Arts Center, among other relevant projects. Little combines expertise in traditional architectural services (architecture, engineering, interior design) with a proficiency in additional diversified architectural consulting services (planning, sustainability, site design, brand consulting, digital visualization and smart building technologies ). For more information, visit

About Steinberg Hart

Steinberg Hart is an international architecture, interiors and planning firm based in Los Angeles. The company has built a diverse and talented team that works collaboratively across all seven offices, challenging each other to develop designs that build community, improve business, support learning and connect people with place. For nearly 70 years, Steinberg Hart has been shaping environments and creating inspiring places through an idea-driven and results-driven design approach that spans education, arts, residential, urban mixed-use , hospitality, civic and commercial. This includes over 280 performing arts installations designed and delivered nationally. Steinberg Hart is known for design innovations and building technologies that help customers realize the full potential of their projects. To learn more, visit

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported art school in the United States, a single autonomous public university of art conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that nurtures young talent in dance, design and production, theater, film, and music. Established by the NC General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the system of the University of North Carolina when it was established in 1972. For more information, visit

About Madeline J. Carter

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