Ephrata Performing Arts Center (Ephrata, PA)

The Job Site

Curtains For a Historic Theater?

In its day in the 1950s, Pennsylvania’s Ephrata Performing Arts Center (EPAC) showcased talent by theatrical greats like Veronica Lake, Eva Gabor, and Chico Marx. Young thespians named Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone even auditioned at EPAC – although neither one were hired at the time.


While this “Playhouse in the Park” provided top-notch entertainment for the South Central Pennsylvania area for many years, by 2003 the historic pavilion’s comfort level was inadequate at best.

The Challenge

Act 2: Rennovations Improve Theater Comfort Level

As part of its “Raise the Roof” Capital Campaign, EPAC’s original 1915 structure underwent vast improvements, including expansion of the lobby, concession area and dressing rooms, improved seating, the addition of more restrooms, expanded rehearsal space and improved climate control. Chris Harmes, HVAC Project Manager of Ames Construction Company, Inc., was assigned the lofty endeavor of improving climate control for the 13,100 square building. “There were two major factors that made this project unique,” notes Chris, “The historic nature of the original structure and the level of comfort needed from the climate control system.”

The Solution

UNICO System Takes The Spotlight

Although significant changes were made to the existing structure and room was added throughout the facility, space for the mechanical equipment and ductwork was still at a premium. “Add to that the desire not to impede the acoustics or the aesthetics of the interior space, as well as the need for a quiet system that provides superior comfort, and a Unico System was clearly the only choice,” says Chris.

Chris and his experts installed a 33-ton Unico System with 188 outlets in conjunction with seven Armstrong outdoor heat pump units. The total area conditioned by the Unico System is approximately 9,100 square feet. The remaining 4,000 square feet is still heated and cooled by the original systems.

The Results

Rave Reviews for UNICO

The addition of the Unico System provides superior indoor comfort for the audience and performers alike.
As the Ephrata Performing Arts Center continues to renovate and improve, it provides increasingly more cultural opportunities for the South Central Pennsylvania area.
With the comfort added by its new Unico System, we’re sure that EPAC’s commitment to providing outstanding entertainment and education in the arts will continue for another half century and well beyond.