Lexington Two will open a new performing arts center and district office in December, following final board approval of plans early last month.
The center, the final coin in the district’s $225 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014, will sit on district-owned property at 3211 Platt Springs Road in Springdale. It was originally planned for Saxe Gotha Road in Cayce, but was moved in favor of a more centralized location for the five communities served by the district.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for December 7. Construction is expected to take about two years.
“We are thrilled to announce the grand opening of the performing arts center,” said Christina Rucker, Chair of the Lexington Two Board of Directors. “This facility will be located in the heart of our school district and is the perfect place to showcase our incredible and talented students.”
The center will provide the district with a state-of-the-art large hall and full work stage for performances, special events and district-wide occasions, which many schools do not have. The center will include a two-level balcony that can accommodate 1,550 people, as well as four meeting and event spaces, two of which can accommodate up to 300 people. Improved stage lighting and sound systems, along with dressing rooms, storage and backstage areas, will ensure the center is equipped for a range of opportunities in dance, music, theater and more.
“This project is symbolic of the district’s transition from the referendum period to future opportunities for our students, employees and communities,” said Lexington Two Superintendent Dr. Nicolas Wade. “This installation, I believe, strongly affirms that we are a central, innovative and attractive district. I am excited about the work that has been done and is currently underway to ensure this is a place that creates and sustains champions.
The center’s primary mission—representing Lexington Two’s commitment to the importance of the fine arts in education—is for its use by students, schools, and district employees. The center’s vision also includes use for professional development and planning, statewide conferences, student conventions and competitions, and community and cultural events, as long as the space is available.
“The most significant benefit of this center is the opportunity it provides our students to perform in such an incredible space,” said Jim LeBlanc, principal of Saluda River Academy for the Arts at Lexington Two. “But it’s more than just a building in which these students can perform. Students can learn the roles and behind-the-scenes jobs required for performances, as well as receive first-hand exposure to industry professionals who will be drawn to using such a nice venue. Our students will have state-of-the-art facilities to showcase their many talents in all artistic fields.
The board, which gave final approval to the project at its November 18 meeting, is expected to decide on a name for the center in the coming weeks. A committee of stakeholders came up with three recommendations: Lexington Two Visual and Performing Arts Center (Lex2 VPAC), Metropolitan Arts Center of Lexington Two (MAC of Lex2) and Midlands Arts Center of Lexington Two (MAC of Lex2).
The district office will move to the center, a move that will allow the space to be occupied continuously. The estimated cost of the project is $52 million.
“I look forward to seeing what our direction and renewed commitment to the fine arts will look like, as later this school year we will embark on a working committee to assess current needs, determine the needs and interests of our students and shape our future direction,” said Dr. Wade.