Because of fire and safety codes, seating capacity in the Lee Chapel and Museum must be regulated so that exits and stairwells are not blocked at any time. While historical estimates placed the auditorium at a 625-person capacity, experience proves that it is more realistically a seating capacity of no more than 525 (400 downstairs and 125 in the balcony). Even then, there are always less seats available than one may plan for, due to the way people seat themselves. You should expect this when planning your program.
Therefore, ALL events in the Chapel must be limited to no more than 525 persons. If the anticipated audience exceeds this number, the organizing department or group should consider providing an overflow alternative (contact the Instructional Technology Lab), if one is deemed necessary. At NO TIME can there be anyone standing in the aisles or at the rear of the auditorium, sitting on the stairs, or blocking the entrance due to fire and safety regulations. Once the auditorium reaches capacity, entrance into the building will be regulated by a Security officer or designated person in order to maintain safety.
When planning large events, the organizing department or group must contact and arrange with Security to provide crowd control at the Chapel throughout the event. Such events will include Freshmen Orientation, Homecoming, Parents Weekend, Alumni Reunion and other University events anticipating a crowd over 500. Additionally, the department or organization must provide at least two (2) greeters at the door in order to prevent drinks and food from entering the Chapel and to request cell phones and pagers be turned off, as well as at least two (2) ushers to help the audience find available seats.
For Parents Weekend concerts as well as for CONTACT and other lectures with nationally known speakers, it is highly recommended that free tickets, not to exceed 500, be distributed prior to the event, in order to ensure seating opportunities for family and friends of the musicians and to control the crowd in a rational and fair manner. (If the Chamber Singers are in the balcony, the number of seats available should be reduced by 25.)
The balcony will remain CLOSED at all times, EXCEPT in the case of an overflow crowd. For the above mentioned University events ONLY, the balcony may be opened when the auditorium opens. However, for all other events, the balcony is to remain closed until it becomes clear that additional seating will be necessary. Generally, the Lee Chapel staff or Security will make that decision.