Construction crews are down to the last details on the new Instructional Performing Arts Center (IPAC).
Some of those details, including sound locks to reduce noise inside the music studio, are awaiting shipments from California, New York and Michigan.
All of those states have been hit hard by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is what has caused so much delay in production,” explained Kevin O’Farrell, provost at Pasco-Hernando State College. But, the performing arts center anticipates a grand opening in the fall, likely in September or October.
Meanwhile, certain areas of the center will open in phases.
A certificate of occupancy for administrative offices is expected in July or August, O’Farrell said.
The IPAC is the culmination of years of planning that brought together the state college and Pasco County’s school district in what O’Farrell characterizes as a unique educational partnership.
“There’s nothing like this,” the college official said.
Pasco County Schools donated the center’s site. The state college paid construction costs and will manage the center’s use.
The nearly 36,000-square-foot performing arts center is at 8657 Old Pasco Road, next to the campus of Cypress Creek High School, and the soon-to-open Cypress Creek Middle School.
The performing arts center has a 444-seat auditorium and stage, a large lobby, a general-purpose classroom, computer laboratories, a video production studio, faculty and staff offices, and a conference room.
State-of-the-art technology, with Apple and Microsoft products for computers, are intended to support first-class learning and performance opportunities.
“The technology there is going to be phenomenal,” said O’ Farrell. “We can envision some great performances there. We know this is such a big desire of our community.”
The state college anticipates hosting regional and national festivals, workshops and performances. Many will be open to the community, as well as students.
Pasco school officials designed the middle school – set to open in August – to complement IPAC. Among the middle school’s amenities is a 150-seat black box theater, which school officials anticipate could be a venue for local theater groups. The middle school also will offer dance, orchestra and chorus instruction.
The state college will offer four Associate of Arts degrees for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college for a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance, theater or music. Dual enrollment and community students also will participate in classes.
The center provides more than an arts curriculum, O’Farrell said.
There are programs for students interested in digital media and multimedia technology. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum can prepare students for many careers, including video engineer, lighting technician, and web designer and developer.
O’Farrell perhaps is most excited by the synergy created by a holistic design that brings the theater and faculty offices in proximity — for engaging and interactive learning experiences.
“You see the whole collaborative enterprise coming together before your very eyes,” he said. “I think we have a really bright future ahead of us.”
For information, visit PHSC.edu.
Published June 10, 2020