Performing Arts Center Set for $3.25 Million Expansion

Performing Arts CenterFunding Secured by Three Bronx Officials Will Modernize Center for its 30th Anniversary

The Lehman College Performing Arts Center has received a $3.25 million capital allocation for improvements to the Center that will include a much-needed two-story addition. A design firm will be selected for the project by early spring 2008, with construction expected to begin in summer 2009 for completion in 2010, when the Center will celebrate its 30th anniversary. The allocation was secured by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr. and Council Members James Vacca and Annabel Palma.

“This addition will allow Lehman Center to better serve the needs of the Bronx community and illustrates the cooperation that can be achieved among our elected officials to address borough-wide needs,” said President Ricardo R. Fernández. “We are grateful to Borough President Carrión, as well as Council members Palma and Vacca, for their extraordinary support of this major project.”

The two-story, 2,500-square-foot expansion will house a new box office and management offices, as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that can operate independent of the main facility. Those systems will keep the 2,300-seat theater temperate when not in use, producing cost and energy savings.

The project will also bring the Center into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing ADA-compliant bathrooms, an elevator, and access to the stage, lobbies and theater. These improvements will better accommodate the needs of the elderly and those needing wheelchairs or an elevator to reach the Center’s upper levels. The project will also add outdoor seating and an electronic rooftop bulletin board to the facility. Performances, which are generally held in the evening or on weekends, will continue as usual during the construction period.

“This is an incredibly important project for the entire borough,” said Borough President Carrión. “Education must be about more than classroom learning—it must also be about supporting important cultural institutions that serve the community. I am delighted to work with my colleagues, Council Member Vacca and Council Member Palma, to ensure that this becomes a reality.”

“Cultural enrichment is vital to the health of any community, and by hosting affordable, well-produced performances, both large and small, Lehman’s Performing Arts Center serves as a cultural hub for the entire borough,” said Council Member Vacca. “I am thrilled to have been able to work with the College, the Borough President and Council Member Palma to finally help improve the access, comfort and efficiency of this local jewel.”

“It is a great honor that I was able, along with my colleagues Council Member Vacca and the Borough President, to give Lehman College the support it needed to fulfill the Performing Arts Center expansion,” said Council Member Palma. “The new accommodations will be utilized by people with disabilities and seniors who weren’t able to attend shows in the past. These efforts demonstrate how we as elected officials can come together for a great purpose to enrich the lives of our Bronx residents.”

In addition to providing free music, dance and theatre performances for Bronx schools, the Performing Arts Center has recently doubled the number of performances offered annually. In the past two years, the Center has welcomed such noted artists as Jose Feliciano, Johnny Mathis, Roberta Flack, Patti LaBelle, Robert Klein, Joan Rivers, the Moscow Classical Ballet and the cast of “Cats.” Among those scheduled to perform this spring are Gladys Knight, salsa legends Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, and Grammy Award-winner Natalie Cole. More information on upcoming shows is available online at www.lehmancenter.org.

“We look forward to working with the architects to make the performance experience a memorable one for all in the Bronx,” said Eva Bornstein, executive director of the Performing Arts Center, “and to celebrating our thirtieth anniversary in 2010 with a rejuvenated facility.”

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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