York College has announced plans to construct a performing arts center on its campus. The college has received $2.2 million in gifts and pledges toward the total project cost of $3.5 million. Construction of the 12,000 sq. ft. facility is set to begin in fall 2014.
The performing arts center will be focused on the day-to-day needs of students involved in York College’s music and communication programs. The project was kick-started late last year by a $2 million anonymous gift. Other major commitments to date include a grant from the York Community Foundation and a gift from R L Craft Roofing Company of Harlan, Iowa.
A multi-form (black box) theater seating up to 350 patrons will be the centerpiece of the facility. This 5,000 sq. ft. feature will allow for various stage arrangements, more extensive sets and improved seating for patrons. It will also create opportunities for workshops and camps for YC students and area youth interested in the performing arts.
Other features include an atrium, a dedicated rehearsal hall for the Concert Choir, a green room, costume room, and practice rooms for music majors.
Click to Enlarge Floor Plan Image
“This new facility is the perfect next step for a growing tradition of excellence in the performing arts,” says York College President Steve Eckman. “Reaching out to our community has been a hallmark of our programs and a new performing arts center will help us do this better than before. Our arts patrons will enjoy the additional space and comfort while our students enjoy more opportunities to learn and grow.”
The new facility will be constructed on 10th Street, between Kiplinger and McKaig Avenues. Gurganus Hall, the longtime home for theater and music programs, will be repurposed to serve as a set construction workshop and storage. JLC, Inc. has been selected as the general contractor. Graham Design USA, Inc. is the architect of record.
Dr. Clark Roush, Endowed Chair for the Performing Arts and professor of music, is excited about what’s next for his department with the addition of the new building. “We have such a fine reputation for what we produce musically. It will be great to have a facility that represents the caliber of our arts program.” He sees the immediate benefit of the new facility being a boost for recruitment of music majors.
The new building will benefit all YC students, but especially the 25 percent of the student body from all majors who participate in arts at York College, including the Concert Choir, Celebration Singers, and theatre productions such as mainstage performances, student-directed productions, and the Traveling Children’s Theatre.
The facility will benefit the York community as well, as it will offer more comfortable seating and all-abilities access, making on-campus theatre and music performances, such as the annual holiday show Cocoa and Carols, available to a wider audience.
John Baker, associate professor of communication, sees immediate benefit to a new facility for his theater students as well as his arts patrons. “The new theater will provide students with a professional setting in which to learn the art of theater. For years our audiences have been subjected to folding chairs, poor sight lines to the stage and a hot auditorium. Now they will be able to enjoy a comfortable viewing environment that will match the quality of performance on stage.”
The Concert Choir and Traveling Children’s Theatre groups both tour extensively in the state and across the U.S., providing free performances for schools and churches. The new building will enable them to better prepare their craft, which touches thousands of audience members each year. Both groups will perform this weekend during High School Days, a campus showcase event for prospective students.
"The performing arts center represents a celebration of music and theater at York College,” says Brent Magner, vice president for Advancement. “Gifts toward it are an investment in students and a boost for the York community. Naming opportunities are available to honor friends, mentors and loved ones.” If you are interested in giving and naming opportunities for this facility, please contact Magner in the Advancement Office at (402) 363-5636.
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York, NE 68467
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