New PAC sets the stage for the future

Performing arts students are eager for a building of their own. Construction could begin as early as December 2015, or as soon as the building can be fully financed.
Currently, performing arts students are using Presser Hall. Built in 1929, Presser is one of the two oldest buildings on campus. With the arrival of the new PAC, students and professors will have ample room to practice and to thrill audiences with their performances.
The $18.5 million project will include a new performance stage that will seat 540 people (163 seats in the balcony), a small 100-seat performance room similar to a blackbox, a rehearsal room that is the same size as the performance stage, dressing rooms for men and women that can be converted into classrooms, a state of the art design shop, a costume shop, a small recording studio for small ensembles or individuals, a box office, and office space for staff members.
The new PAC will be built on the corner of University Drive where the Huckins Apartments are currently located, right at the entrance of the university.
The 40,725 square-foot building is an original design by co-designers Randall Scott Associates, and Westlake, Reed, and Leskosky. The building will cover an entire avenue.
“The design, while modern, fits with the campus architectural style,” Associate Vice President for Campus Planning Robert Pattee said.
“The new space will certainly be beneficial to the college of the visual and performing arts because of what happens there,” Dean of Performing Arts Ted Barnes said.
Right now, performing arts students are using Walton Chapel, Meyers Christian Studies Building, Manning Chapel, and Temple’s Cultural Activities Center for their performances.
“We do a pretty good job with the old venues we have … but it [the PAC] will make it so much more fun for not only the performers, but also for the patrons who come and watch it,” Barnes said.
One of the main reasons that the students and professors are looking forward to the new PAC is because the new building will keep the opera musical theatre troupe and various wind ensembles from having to travel somewhere for a performance.
Sophomore music education major, Brianna Frederickson, expressed that not having to constantly pack up all of their equipment and move it miles away in another place will be very beneficial for the students.
“We can just have everything central in one location. We don’t have to worry about anything being lost.
Associate Director of Opera Music Theatre Penny Hogan said the PAC will give the opera theatre program more room to build sets, to house costumes, and to keep track of props.
“Everything is stored here on the fifth floor, which is not air conditioned or heated. It’s like grandma’s attic…,” Hogan said. “[I’m] looking forward to having a scene shop, somewhere where we can actually work because right now when we’re trying to build sets we do it all kinds of places.”
Hogan believes that the performing arts center will not only benefit music and theatre students, but also others in the community.
“It will be a place where many other artists can come in and use our theatre,” Hogan said. “It will be such a great thing for the university, for the community.”
The dean of the college is also excited that the university is bringing a facility like the performing arts center to campus.
“It’s the last project in the campus master plan,” Barnes said. “The development office is working really hard to raise the money to fully finance the performing arts center.”

Author: Lauren Lum

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