Update: Construction timeline, fund raising goals announced for Civic Arts Center

The bulldozers, backhoes and dump trucks have finished with site preparation and moved off the Maryville College campus temporarily, but the heavy equipment is expected to return in early March, when construction begins in earnest on the $47-million Civic Arts Center (CAC).

The major performing arts facility is being constructed through a partnership between Maryville College and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa. It will celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists. Its design will also accommodate Broadway shows, concerts by touring musicians and orchestras, traveling art exhibits, film series, children’s plays and presentations by nationally recognized speakers.

It will include a 1,200-seat performance hall, a 250-seat recital hall, a 200-seat flexible theatre, a grand lobby offering a 250-capacity dining area, three gallery/exhibit spaces and an outdoor arts plaza that can be used for special events.

“The Civic Arts Center is a very unique project, a very complex project. It’s designed to support and enhance performances, so this is very specialized construction,” said Barry Brooke, vice president for property development and management firm Lawler Wood, which is the owner’s representative for the construction of the center. “But the completed facility is going to be a real asset for the community and the region.”

According to Brooke, four general contractors were pre-qualified to bid on the project in December. The firm expects to receive a “notice to proceed” from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) in the next several days. Since the CAC was approved for funding from the federal government, TDOT has been involved to administer funds and review plans.

The notification will allow the firm to officially bid the project and hold a pre-bid conference that will allow contractors to meet the architects, ask questions and learn more about the vision for the facility.

Brooke said that the pre-construction process has, for the most part, gone as scheduled.

“Site preparation in October went really well. That part was completed within budget and actually finished ahead of schedule,” he said. “The plans and specs from the architects were completed by the end of November, and in early December, the contractors were pre-qualified. Once TDOT issues the ‘notice to proceed,’ we’ll work hard and fast to move the project along.”

Explaining that the construction timeline has changed slightly from earlier announcements, Brooke said that the process with the federal funding has taken much longer than anticipated.

“We’ve had to complete quite a bit of paperwork and produce a number of reports in order to move through the approval process,” he said.

According to Brooke, approximately four weeks after the project is sent out for bid, TDOT and representatives of the various partners/stakeholders will review the submitted proposals, discuss the bids, choose one contractor and award a contract. Soon after that, work on the building’s foundation should commence.

Lawler Wood anticipates a 21-month construction period, and hopefully a winter 2010 completion date.

In forming a partnership to construct the $47-million Civic Arts Center, the City of Maryville agreed to contribute $9.38 million toward the project, while Alcoa leaders voted to contribute $3.75 million. Maryville College committed to working with Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton and other members of the CAC fund-raising committee to raise $25 million in private dollars, in addition to donating the land where the facility will be located. Nearly $7 million in federal funds was secured for the center, while the state of Tennessee appropriated $2 million.

To date, the leadership giving phase of the CAC campaign has netted more than $39 million.

The college will now turn its efforts toward a community-wide, broad-based campaign effort, said Jason McNeal, vice president for advancement and community relations.

“Kevin Clayton has done a superb job with the leadership giving phase, and we are now excited to invite the larger community to participate in constructing the best possible Civic Arts Center.”

The $47-million campaign for the CAC is part of Maryville College’s $83-million Our Window of Opportunity capital campaign, which will also fund a $6-million renovation for Anderson Hall, add to the college’s endowment and support the Maryville Fund for day-to-day operations.

To date, the college has raised more than $62 million, or 75 percent, of the overall goal.

To make a gift to the CAC or other initiatives of the Our Window of Opportunity capital campaign, contact McNeal at 865-981-8197 or jason.mcneal@maryvillecollege.edu.

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