Red Tape Cleared For Performing Arts Center

Bids for construction on Western’s new Fine and Performing Arts Center were opened on Wednesday, October 3. With the certified bid total for construction in at 13 percent lower than previously estimated, construction is planned for January.

The estimated project completion date is September 2003.

The total cost for the 121,000 square foot building is $21,165,709, according to Chuck Wooten, vice chancellor for administration and finance.

“The new center will be constructed entirely from proceeds of the Higher Education Bond program,” said Wooten.

The lowest bidder for the general contract was the Hickory Construction Co. Inc. of Hickory with a bid of $14,185,500. Price & Price Mechanical of NC Inc. of Arden came in with the lowest bid for the plumbing at $997,000. The lowest bid on mechanical work, which includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning, came from Martin Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Hendersonville at $3,528,314. The best bid on the electrical work was from Emory Electric Inc. of Asheville with a bid of $2,454,895.

According to Wooten, these bids have been certified and the construction companies are preparing the materials necessary for contract award.

Upon completion, the Fine and Performing Arts Center will contain classrooms, studios, galleries and support space for students majoring in the arts and humanities. It will also have a 1,000 – seat hall for music and theatrical performances.

“The Center will provide a state – of- the- art performance space for students in theater, music and dance. It will also provides greatly expanded teaching facilities for art,” according to Chancellor Bardo. “There is also a secure art gallery that will allow Western to display its own collection of art, to display faculty and student art, and to attract traveling art shows,” said Bardo.

Chancellor Bardo went on to state that the size and quality of design of the theater and the smaller performing space should attract a broad range of programs.

These programs include musical performances, touring theater programs and professional dance companies.

“This quality of performance will provide additional things to do for students, and attract local people to the campus,” Bardo said. “With the increasing arts presence on campus, we should see growth in our music, theater, dance and art programs”.

“We also anticipate that the Center will contribute to the attractiveness of campus for other students who enjoy these types of activities,” Bardo concluded.