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Lexington school district opens $52M center for performing arts

Ross Norton //May 3, 2024//

The $52 million Performing Arts Center represents the final phase of a 10-year, $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)

The $52 million Performing Arts Center represents the final phase of a 10-year, $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)

The $52 million Performing Arts Center represents the final phase of a 10-year, $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)

The $52 million Performing Arts Center represents the final phase of a 10-year, $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)

Lexington school district opens $52M center for performing arts

Ross Norton //May 3, 2024//

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Lexington School District Two this week welcomed the public to its new 103,400-square-foot Performing Arts Center and district office at 3205 Platt Springs Road in West Columbia.

Superintendent Brenda Hafner speaks with guests before the ribbon-cutting event. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)
Superintendent Brenda Hafner speaks with guests before the ribbon-cutting event. (Photo/Forrest Clonts/Flock and Rally)

The center is the culmination of a decade-long vision, according to a news release from the district, a state-of-the-art facility that will serve students, educators and the community at large.

“The opening of our new Performing Arts Center marks a significant milestone in our district’s commitment to fostering creativity and excellence in education,” Brenda Hafner, superintendent of Lexington School District Two, said in the news release. “This incredible venue will serve as a hub for artistic expression, innovation and community engagement for generations to come. The support our communities have for Lexington Two schools is unmatched, and we could not be more grateful for it. That support, along with the board’s vision and work, has made this newest education facility a reality.”

The center’s location is in the heart of the communities the district serves, including Springdale, West Columbia, Pine Ridge, South Congaree and Cayce.

The new Performing Arts Center and district office, a $52 million investment, represents the final phase of a 10-year, $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014. Over the past decade, the district has made capital upgrades across the district and has built Riverbank Elementary School, Cayce Elementary School and the Lexington Two Innovation Center.

The Performing Arts Center was designed by Jumper Carter Sease Architects, a Lexington-based firm specializing in academic facilities. South Carolina-based Thompson Turner Construction served as the general contractor with Productions Unlimited Inc., headquartered in Spartanburg, leading the design, installation and maintenance of the theatrical equipment.

The Performing Arts Center, which makes up 71,800 square feet of the new facility, will serve district students, schools and employees. Its vision encompasses professional development, statewide conferences, community events and cultural gatherings, the release said. Lexington Two’s district office occupies 31,600 square feet of the building.

The Performing Arts Center features a two-level balcony accommodating more than 1,500 guests, a grand lobby downstairs and an additional lobby on the second floor overlooking the lower lobby. It boasts four meeting and event breakout spaces, including two that hold up to 300 people, the release said. The facility also features a full orchestra pit with a lift, a loading dock with easy access to the scene shop and stage, state-of-the-art stage lighting and sound systems, four dressing rooms and one large green room, concession areas, a catering kitchen, two large dividable multipurpose rooms, and 535 total parking spaces, including 17 handicap accessible spaces.

An important benefit of the new center is the opportunity it provides Lexington Two students to perform in a world-class space, the district says. Additionally, students will have opportunities to learn behind-the-scenes roles and jobs necessary for performances and receive exposure to professionals in the industry.

“The completion of the Performing Arts Center represents a monumental achievement for Lexington Two, and we were thrilled to bring together our students, teachers, families and community members to celebrate during our grand opening festivities,” Linda Alford-Wooten, chair of the Lexington School District Two Board of Trustees, said in the release. “This facility not only enhances our district’s educational offerings but also strengthens our community, providing a venue for cultural enrichment and celebration.”

“The Performing Arts Center is a testament to our commitment to the arts and education,” says Jim LeBlanc, the Performing Arts Center’s executive director, said in the release. “We’re excited to open our doors and offer opportunities for collaboration, creativity and growth. Whether it’s a student production, professional development workshop or community event, we look forward to serving as a vibrant cultural hub for the community.”

Over the summer, Lexington Two will provide opportunities for public tours, as well as use the space for district-wide staff, student and teacher training and meeting spaces. The district will present its inaugural Fine Art Summer Camp June 3-13 for Lexington Two students.

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