March 29, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 13


Valley Performing Arts Center Enters Planning Stage

Proposition 55 Funds Preliminary Plans and Design Work for Ambitious New Entertainment Complex

A new $100 million performing arts center to enrich the cultural life of the San Fernando Valley soon will be out of the concept stage and into the planning stage at Cal State Northridge, thanks to California voters who in March passed Proposition 55, the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2004.

At its March meeting in Fresno, California State University trustees approved the CSU system's draft state funded capital outlay program for 2005/06, including nearly $1.2 million for preliminary plans and design work on the long-awaited, 1,600-seat performing arts center.

Final trustee approval of the system's five-year capital improvement plan, including the performing arts center allocation, is expected in September 2004, according to Colin Donahue, Cal State Northridge's director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction.

Voters also approved funding of a $46.2 million science building to replace Northridge's aging Science 1 Complex, as well as $3.4 million for equipment to complete the university's Engineering Building renovation project.

"The new performing arts center will help Northridge expand its dynamic role as the cultural center of the San Fernando Valley," said President Jolene Koester, noting that the area now has no performance space large enough to handle full-scale orchestral and theatrical performances.

When completed by the end of the decade, the center will be the largest venue for the performing arts in the region of nearly 1.8 million people, able to host major university performances as well as events by off-campus performers and groups.

Plans are to make the new complex, which will be managed by the university, about three times larger than Northridge's current 500-seat center. Located in the University Student Union, the smaller facility will be used for smaller-scale performances.

With a 50,000-square-foot main hall and a 250-seat "black box" theater, the 163,000-square-foot performing arts project will bring new energy to the music lawn area at the northwest corner of Nordhoff Street and Lindley Avenue. The complex also will hold lecture and rehearsal halls, dressing rooms, classrooms, a lighting lab, a design studio, a recording studio, shops and the award-winning KCSN 88.5 FM radio station.

After the $1.2 million "boost" from Proposition 55 monies, the balance of project support will come from a combination of state and private funding.

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