Study Results Positive for Prince William Arts Center

Posted: June 21, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

The idea of a performing arts center at the Prince William Campus continues to gain momentum. Results of a feasibility study to determine community support for the facility–a joint venture between George Mason, the City of Manassas, and Prince William County–have prompted the partners to proceed to the next step to explore financial options and fund-raising opportunities.

“After the successful launch of the Freedom Center, the first interjurisdictional collaboration, community leaders approached us with an idea to use the same tripartite process to provide a focal point for the performing arts in the area,” says Executive Vice President Randall Edwards.

The feasibility study began last year, and the consulting team of Hughes Group Architects Inc. of Sterling and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and Webb Management Services Inc. of Manhattan presented the results last month to the university, the Manassas City Council, and the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

As part of the study, Manassas and Prince William County residents were surveyed via mail and telephone to determine support for development and use of the proposed facility. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed indicate an interest in a local performing arts center, 48 percent are very supportive, and 33 percent are somewhat supportive of building the facility. Fifty-one percent would consider financially supporting the center, and 84 percent desire an alternative to going into Washington, D.C., for arts and entertainment.

The proposal calls for a 1,100-seat multipurpose hall; a 300-seat theater for drama and dance; two rehearsal/performance spaces, one divisible into two classrooms; support areas, such as a catering kitchen, box office, and storage space; and lobby space designed to showcase other university and community activities.

“This facility has the potential to play a major role in building community-based cultural interest,” says William Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Collaborative opportunities for programming, securing artists, and implementing educational programs are varied and exciting.”

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