First look inside Columbia County's Performing Arts Center

Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Columbia County's Performing Arts Center is a $32-million project with every detail meticulously planned out to be as grand as possible.

News 12 got a look inside the for the first time.

"This is going to be a landmark for Columbia County and Evans Town Center," Steven Prather, the SPLOST Construction Manager said.

The entrance is built with a grand staircase. There are concession stands, spaces for party rentals and catering.

The museum is the other big attraction. County officials say the plans for that are still up in the air, but they hope it'll have Columbia County's history and display local artist's work.

The real magic is the auditorium. It's a 2,200 seated space big enough to fit the largest Broadway touring play.

"When we designed this facility we wanted to make sure it would be a facility that performers wanted to come to," Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson said. "A desired destination for the performer."

County Administrator Scott Johnson says it's the county's single largest investment. It's one that is coming to life with a new partnership with Innovation Arts and Entertainment.

IAE will book the acts; anything from Broadway plays to concerts to headlining comedians.

Columbia County will manage day to day operations. They'll hire a manager paid solely by revenue produced from the center, with the intent not to use taxpayer dollars.

"We're talking shows like Wicked and Lion King and really the big Broadway shows that tour all around the country being able to come. But that's one aspect of what our PAC will be," Johnson said. "The other aspect is it will be a community center as well. When the Columbia County symphony wants to perform or the ballet wants to perform, we'll be able to do that as well."

When will this whole project be complete? Construction is expected to be finished by winter 2020 and the county hopes to open its doors by the spring.