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College arts center plan meets resistance

An advocacy group for the arts is calling for Sierra College to abandon a plan for a multi-purpose indoor facility in exchange for a sports gym and on-campus land that can be used to build a larger performing arts center.

The College Community Connection Advocates outlined its proposal in a letter sent Thursday to the Sierra College trustees.

Within the letter, the group called the proposed multi-purpose facility inadequate in seating and stage capacity, acoustics and accommodations for local nonprofit groups that might choose to rent elsewhere instead.



The multi-purpose facility also would occupy a prime piece of ground that later could be used to build a higher-quality performing arts center using public and private dollars. The Union reported in December that a feasibility study was planned for such a venue.

“A gym is a better facility to have in the meantime than an inadequate performance hall. We think keeping the ground available on campus is the best thing to do,” said Keith Porter, spokesman for College Community Connection Advocates.




The group, comprised of 100 civic leaders, was formed after a 2004 voter-approved bond measure passed, raising $44.4 million for general campus construction.

Since December, groups have been debating how to use money set aside for the project, now over-budget because of inflation. At a recent trustees meeting, a multi-purpose facility became a compromise to help shave costs while attempting to satisfy sports and arts needs.

Grass Valley campus Dean Neal Allbee said the college has land available for development and is open to forming partnerships.

“The college is interested in any partnerships that will work for everybody. We do have land for future development sites. The other reality is that we are looking at complying with the board’s interest to build a multi-purpose facility,” Allbee said.

“It’s worth considering every point of view on this project” in terms of balancing the needs of the school and the community, said Aaron Klein, one of the Sierra College trustees.

A multi-purpose facility could be used for educational purposes and serve as a bridge to the community for cultural events such as films and guest speakers, Allbee said.

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To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

On the Net

The letter to college trustees accompanies this story at:

http://www.theunion.com


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