Fan Project is Spinning Ahead


Four 35-foot steel poles are standing. Twenty 10-foot fan blades are attached. Electrical wiring is ready. And, lighting components are en route to Starlight Theatre this month.

If Mother Nature cooperates and contractors are able to finish their work, Starlight Theatre’s four new state-of-the-art mega fans could be spinning (in a testing phase) before the calendar turns to 2018.

Human fans of Starlight have been eager to follow progress on the new fans of Starlight (the mechanical kind) since the venue improvement project was announced last summer. Site and construction work began in mid-October to make Starlight even cooler next summer!

The new ultra-quiet fans have been strategically placed to ensure the greatest number of Starlight Broadway and concert patrons will benefit from their cooling effects. When all four fans operate together at full speed, they will generate a breeze of about 4 mph throughout Starlight’s seating bowl. (For those more technical types, each fan moves about 330,050 cubic feet of air per minute.)

In addition to being quiet, the fans are also energy-efficient; each uses only about 3 horsepower, or the equivalent of an average hairdryer.

Starlight sought guidance for the project from The Muny in St. Louis, which did extensive research before installing a similar fan system in 2013. That theatre reports highly favorable response from its guests in the summer seasons since.

Starlight’s $628,000 fan design and construction project was funded in three ways: (1) donations of approximately $12,000 were contributed by individuals who joined Starlight’s Fan Club during the 2017 season; (2) grants totaling $115,000 were received from three local philanthropic foundations, the William T. Kemper Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, and the R.C. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; and (3) the remainder came from Starlight’s operating budget.

The following companies, most of them Kansas City-based, make up the project team:

  • Project manager: Justin White, Starlight Theatre vice president of operations
  • General contractor: McCownGordon Construction
  • Architect: GastingerWalker&
  • Structural engineer: Leigh & O’Kane
  • Electrical engineer: PKMR Engineers
  • Excavation, foundations and finish concrete: Kissick Construction Co.
  • Electrician: Brookside Electric Project Services
  • Pole fabrication: Builders Steel Co.
  • Pole galvanizing: AZZ
  • Pole painting: Genesis Environmental Solutions, Inc.
  • Fan and motor manufacturer: Envira-North Systems Ltd.

Watch a video to view the Starlight fan project construction in progress this fall.

Come to Starlight during the 2018 season to see – and feel – the fans for yourself!

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