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Walton Arts Center to expand in Bentonville and Fayetteville

By Jon Schleuss

This article was originally published December 1, 2010 at 4:42 p.m. Updated December 1, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.

Board Approved

Pursue two separate expansions — a new 600 seat venue in Fayetteville on or adjacent to the current WAC facility, and a new 2,200+ seat venue in or near downtown Bentonville. The new facilities are contingent upon addressing the following issues:

-Bentonville - Find an appropriate site near or downtown that meets specified criteria

-Fayetteville - Commitment from City to continue working to resolve downtown parking issues in a way that supports an expanded arts complex.

— The Walton Arts Center announced that it's moving to Bentonville and the board reiterated that it isn't leaving Fayetteville anytime soon.

The board of directors approved a proposal that would build a 2,200 seat hall in Bentonville and a new 600 seat venue in Fayetteville.

"The expansion in two locations will be a win for Northwest Arkansas and the Walton Arts Center," President and CEO Peter Lane said at a press conference Wednesday.

Both locations are contingent on finding an appropriate site near the downtown region that meets the board's criteria.

One of the criteria discussed by the board was the need for the center to remain competitive.

Terri Trotter, the center's chief operating officer, said the current 1,200 seat hall in Fayetteville doesn't currently have enough space to accommodate larger performances. Trotter said performances like Jersey Boys and the Lion King don't fit in the current venue.

The recommendation for an expansion in two locations came from the board's facilities committee.

Construction is expected to cost about $180 million.

A new performing arts center in Bentonville would likely be near the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Arts, making it a top arts destination in the region. Expanding the existing Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville could include adding a new theater on or near Dickson Street.

Articles about the Walton Arts Center expansion will appear in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Northwest Arkansas Times, the Springdale Morning News, the Rogers Morning News, the Benton County Daily Record and online at NWAonline.com

Print Headline: Panel to present 2 options to Walton Arts Center board

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