The new Sandi Simon Center for Dance is taking shape in the circa-1918 Villa Park Orchards Association Packing House, an icon of the Cypress Street Barrio and the region’s citrus-growing heyday. More than a historical-preservation project, this renovation will make the most of the building’s existing features — spacious interiors, generous natural lighting — and revise them for use by Chapman’s award-winning dance program.

“It’s a storied building,” says Collette Creppell, Chapman’s vice president of Campus Planning and Design, as she describes the new dance center, scheduled for a June 2022 opening. “The way in which we’re approaching the design for this space is to reveal in many ways how rich and layered this site is and the stories of this building, of which dance is the next.”

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects is creating an immersive experience with a design that preserves the Industrial Vernacular Style architecture of the historic buildings, while adapting the interior to the needs of a top dance program. The center will share a courtyard with The K Residence Hall, an adjacent building that also incorporates the architectural heritage of the original packinghouse.

Most of the project is an interior tenant improvement with minimal impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Work will be performed within limits of City of Orange Municipal Code (OMC). Noise sources associated with construction, repair, remodeling or grading of any real property may take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on any day except for Sunday or a federal holiday, or between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday or a federal holiday.

Currently, the Department of Dance is housed in the Partridge Dance Center, adjacent to the Hilbert Museum on Atchison Street, across from the train station. Plans to expand the museum into the soon-to-be-vacated space are already underway.