Only on 12: Azziz talks riverfront performing arts center, declares Jags mascot 'won't change' in merger

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email
Plans for New U

GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz is talking big plans for both the "New U" and Augusta's riverfront. (WRDW-TV / April 13, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, April 13, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta's "New U" is poised to grow in more ways and more places than one.

"New U" is the nickname they're giving Augusta's unnamed university.

"I just want to know," said Brenda Durant with the Augusta Arts Council. "What do we need to do because we are going to get on it."

Durant is teaming up with GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz for a new performing arts center.

"We need to make things more attractive to students," Azziz said.

When was the last time you enjoyed a night at the symphony or maybe caught a traveling Broadway show? It could all be coming to the old Golf and Gardens property along Augusta's Riverfront as part of the newly merged GHSU/ASU.

"The riverfront campus is going to be something that is truly going to be a gem for the new university," Azziz said.

We are talking about a packaged deal that would include the new performing arts center, improvements to the Imperial Theater and full renovations to the Miller Theater that would become home to the Augusta Symphony.

"And then all of us sort of come together to create a true arts district," Azziz said. "That could house the symphony, that could house the student orchestra, that could house advanced programs in music ... lots of things."

This will be a large university that includes a downtown medical campus, a riverfront campus, the Summerville campus with new residence halls and the West campus for athletics.

"Many people have asked me what the name of the athletic team will be," Azziz said. "I like the name Jag and that won't change."

The performing arts center will seat about 2,500 people. The symphony is expected to unveil a new logo, major donors and give us a peak at the planned renovations as early as May 18.

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