Executives at the planned $48 million performing arts center in the Spokane Valley dug shovels of gold into dark brown soil Saturday morning, signifying the official grand opening of the three-story, 59-storey facility. 000 square feet which is expected to open in 2024.
“It’s taken a very long time, but we’re here on the ground with the earth below us preparing to begin building a facility,” said Idaho Central Spokane advisory board member Susanna Baylon. Valley Performing. Art Center.
The structure will be the new home of the Spokane Valley Summer Theater, which will be renamed Idaho Central Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center upon completion of the project. The Idaho Central Credit Union purchased the naming rights to the building.
About 100 people sat or stood Saturday in the footprint of the building, which will be built on a vacant 5-acre lot at 13609 E. Mansfield Ave., next to the Tru by Hilton hotel and near Mirabeau Park and the Spokane River.
“Today we are ushering in a unique legacy project for our region for generations to come,” said Yvonne Johnson, the visionary behind the project, according to Baylon, and its executive artistic director. “The reach and impact of the Center for the Performing Arts in Central Idaho Spokane Valley is far greater than we realize or can even imagine.”
Christina Lynch, chair of the board, also called the legacy project, while praising Johnson’s efforts.
“It’s not for today, it’s not for this summer,” Lynch said. “It’s for 100 years. It’s for all the kids who start young and you see them go through the years pursuing their careers.
Johnson had dreamed of a new theater for years.
“That dream grew, and that dream is there,” Lynch said. “It is reality.”
The facility will include a main stage with more than 480 seats, a 175-seat studio theater designed for flexible seating and more innovative productions, and 300 free parking spaces. The center will also have a versatile special event space with an 800 square foot outdoor balcony that can accommodate up to 400 people.
David Lynch, treasurer of the board and husband of Christina Lynch, called the new space a “teaching center” that will focus on young people.
“We have so much talent to develop, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s for the kids.”
Christina Lynch said the building will not only benefit the Spokane Valley, but also residents from Missoula to Seattle and all the way to the Canadian border.
“We are all going to benefit from this,” she said. “It’s a legacy here in the Spokane Valley.”
Marnie Rorholm, Executive Director, said Spokane Valley Summer Theater and the future Spokane Valley Performing Arts Center is the only professional performing arts organization and educational conservatory between Missoula and Moses Lake. She said the new center will not only have an unprecedented impact on arts and culture, but also on hospitality, tourism and the economy.
Garco Construction of Spokane will begin work this fall with an expected completion date of June 2024, according to a press release from the performing arts center.
The project, which is being privately funded, has raised $18 million with $30 million remaining, capital campaign manager Georgia Oxford told The Spokesman-Review.
“It will be a physical building but it will really house hopes, dreams and possibilities for our region, and that’s why it’s super exciting,” Baylon said.