Walton Arts Center Shares Renovation Plan As Vote Nears

The Walton Arts Center this week showed plans for the $20 million renovation of its Dickson Street theater complex, which would be funded through a bond issue that's up for a vote on Nov. 12.

Representatives from Boora Architects of Portland, Ore., showed renovation renderings at a public meeting on Tuesday. Plans call for a new entrance, a new lobby, and an expanded theater and backstage area. In all, the project will add 30,000-SF of space.

The center says the bond vote includes $6.9 million to help fund the design and construction of expanding and renovating the arts center. If voters approve the bond, construction is set to begin in early to mid-2014 with a completion date "by 2016."

The 22-year-old Walton Arts Center, which is jointly owned by the city of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas, is seeking donations from individuals and foundations for the remaining cost of expansion. It said it attracts 200,000 visitors a year and requires "significant upgrades and more space to meet the growing demand for arts and entertainment" in the community.

The Nov. 12 bond includes funding for other items: $1.5 million to pay off an existing bond, and $3.5 million for the development of regional park, including soccer and baseball fields.

Another meeting to share expansion plans and stir support for the bond vote was scheduled for noon Wednesday at the Walton Arts Center's McBride Studio.