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COA completes center's lobby upgrades

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The newly remodeled lobby at College of The Albemarle's Performing Arts Center, shown Monday, features a new illuminated sign, a striped wavy ceiling, glass plating along the walkway, new carpet and furniture.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Theater patrons who caught College of The Albemarle’s recent production of “Beauty and the Beast” were also the first to see the campus Performing Arts Center’s brand new lobby.

COA recently completed the lobby renovations, part of a $625,000 upgrade of the Performing Arts Center mostly funded with NC Connect Bond funds approved by voters several years ago.

Mariah Schierer, manager of the Performing Arts Center, said she has received a lot of feedback from theater patrons who like the new look and feel of the Performing Arts Center lobby.

“They walk in and say, ‘wow, it looks very professional,’” Schierer said.

Schierer said the lobby renovation was completed just prior to the opening of “Beauty and the Beast” this spring. A grand opening event to showcase the new lobby is being planned for mid-August.

More than half of the $625,000 Performing Arts Center upgrade project went toward the cost of new construction in the lobby area. The new construction included a new ceiling; new lighting and controls; painting; new guard rails on the ramp; carpeting; electrical and plumbing work; and heating and cooling system ductwork.

The COA Board of Trustees voted in 2017 to use $549,000 in NC Connect Bond funds toward the PAC lobby renovation project.

The construction budget included $22,000 for demolition, $80,000 for remodeling restrooms, $15,000 for a new ticket booth, $8,000 for new concession and coat room areas, and another $175,000 for design, fees and permits.

The entire lobby area is newly carpeted, and the new carpet also extends down the hallways leading to the auditorium seating area.

The panels along the accessibility ramp in the lobby are now made of glass, which lends a much more spacious feel to the lobby.

A wavy ceiling design also creates an appearance of more space.

The walls have been painted and a new sign indicates in large letters: “College of The Albemarle Performing Arts Center.”

Schierer said the space in the breezeway at the front of the lobby is now being put to much better use. Breezeway closets have been converted to concession areas and a new ticket booth expedites at-the-door ticket sales and also includes a new will-call window.

New water fountains on both sides of the lobby provide filtered war and include fill stations for refilling water bottles.

The men’s and women’s restrooms include new baby-changing stations as well as new sink fixtures, floor tile and wall tile.

Curved benches echo the curved pattern of the ceiling and also encourage people to converse as they wait to take their seats.

Schierer said community outreach is a major focus of the Performing Arts Center. Dance recitals, high school graduations and other community events are held in the center and auditions for COA productions are open to the public.

Often people who perform in COA productions as children later become COA students, Schierer said, and she thinks that’s no accident.

“We give them a home here,” Schierer said.

Tickets for COA’s 2018-19 theater season went on sale June 11. Shows in the upcoming season include “Annie” from Sept. 6-16; “Camelot” from Oct. 25 to Nov. 2; a Veterans Day Tribute on Nov. 11; “A Christmas Carol” from Dec. 13-16; “Bye Bye Birdie” from Feb. 21 to March 1; and “Hello, Dolly!” from April 11-20.

Tickets are available online at www.albemarle.edu/pac or by calling 335-9050.

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