The Grand Theatre: Douglas Theatre Company

Lincoln, Nebraska

Geary Engineering, Inc. provided the mechanical, electrical and fire protection engineering for Lincoln’s premiere downtown theater complex. The theater has 70,000 square feet, 14 screens with a total of 2979 seats. The largest theater is 410 seats. The entrance from P Street brings movie goers into an expansive two story lobby that sets the atmosphere for a “Grand” experience as the patron is drawn to the concessions, game room, party rooms and to the movies beyond. A second story mezzanine provides space for projectors.

The Theatre is heated and cooled with an all electric heat pump system. The highly efficient heat pump system was selected to take advantage of Lincoln Electric System’s low rates. The heat pump system will provide substantial energy saving when compared to conventional gas fired systems. Packaged roof top heat pump units are located on the roof. The units are mounted on specially designed acoustical roof curbs to prevent noise from the roof top unit from disrupting the movie experience. With the large load variation from fully occupied to an unoccupied movie house, the heating and cooling system needed the capability to cool and dehumidify the theaters. Dehumidifying is provided by hot gas reheat coils in the roof top heat pumps utilizing the wasted energy from the cooling cycle of the heat pumps.

Large rest rooms are provided off of the Grand Lobby. Additional rest room facilities are located in each section of the theater to provide easy access from each theater. The concession area includes soda piping, floor sinks, wash sinks and connections to food service equipment. The Grand Theatre is fully protected with an NFPA 13 system fire sprinkler system. Other fire protection and life safety features are emergency lighting and a voice activated fire alarm system designed for assembly occupancies.

The building is served with a 277/480 volt electrical distribution system. There is a 1600 amp main service for the electric heating and a 1200 amp main service for lighting and power with distribution panels located throughout the theater. Step-down transformers are provided at the subpanels for the projection equipment. The fire alarm system has voice annunciation integrated with the projectors and sound system to meet National Fire Protection Association requirements.

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