Arts Center in the Works for Prince William Campus
George Mason University has joined with Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and the community at-large to construct and operate a $56 million performing arts complex on Mason's Prince William Campus. University and local officials believe that the arts center will transform the burgeoning Prince William arts scene.
"It will reveal the quality of art and artists that has been in place for a long time and make the region a destination for lovers of the performing arts everywhere" says Bill Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA).
The Community Performing Arts Center and its three state-of-the-art venues will give a needed permanent home for long-established arts organizations, such as the Prince William Symphony, the Manassas Dance Company, and the Prince William Youth Orchestra, along with the dozens of arts groups flourishing in the fast-growing region. In addition, the center will be a resource for curriculum-based student arts programs and performances and provide first-class facilities for Mason's growing student and faculty music, dance, theater, and multimedia performances. The university will also bring to the center internationally renowned performing artists in all disciplines from bluegrass to ballet.
The project's centerpiece is a 1,100-seat four-level multipurpose performance hall designed to evoke the European opera houses of the 19th century. The other performance venues are a two-story rehearsal and performance space with seating for up to 100 and a theater with flexible seating for 300. Connecting all three venues will be a 10,000-square-foot, multilevel grand foyer that can serve the region's entertaining and conference needs, as well as private events. The center will also include support facilities: dressing rooms, practice studios, a scene shop, wardrobe areas, and administrative offices.
The center will have an annual economic impact of $7 million on the city, the county, and the commonwealth. While Mason, Prince William County, and the City of Manassas will construct the facility, private funds totaling $16 million must be raised to establish an endowment and annual operating fund, the income from which will augment ticket and user fees, to ensure that the center is financially stable.
According to Brian Marcus, associate dean for development of CVPA, the university plans to start construction in spring 2007 or earlier if fund raising goes well.
Bull Run Hall Opens
Bull Run Hall, the largest academic building at the Prince William Campus, opened in September. The three-story, 100,000-square-foot building boasts a distinctive design of sparkling glass walls and houses more than 1,200 academic stations in electronic classrooms, computer classrooms and labs, lecture halls, and science labs. Ample space also is available for faculty and staff offices, an information center, programming areas, and conference rooms.