Construction is nearing an end on Auburn University's new $70 million Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center.
When completed, the center will help anchor what's being called an Arts District.
Between the center and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, the Arts District will be a new destination for locals, students and visitors to get a taste of traveling performances, events, exhibitions and more.
“The facilities obviously are across the street from each other," said Chris Heacox, the center's executive director. "They mirror each other in design as well. But it’s really about what happens inside the buildings.”
The main hall within the center will be able to seat more than 1,000 people.
Performances planned for the inaugural season starting in August will be announced on March 6.
Outside will be a covered amphitheater and tons of space for outdoor art exhibitions.
The City is funding streetscape improvements to provide crosswalk connections to the museum across the street.
“In designing the performing arts center, having the ability to place it across the street and have the home for Auburn’s visual arts on one side and the home for performing arts on the other side was a great thing to be able to do,” Heacox said.
More than $1.5 million will come from the city’s budget to support the new center. Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said the city wanted to support the center because of the benefits it will provide the community.
“We feel strong enough about the economic development that is going to come from this facility,” Anders said. “And we also feel strongly that we want our citizens to be able to partake and have their events there. It’s going to be an exciting day for all of Auburn for sure.”
The center will open with a four-day festival in August. On Aug. 22, students will be able to enjoy a performance just for them. The announcement of the artist will come in the next few months.
The student-centered concert will be followed by an event for the community. Both will be at the center’s amphitheater.
The center’s first performance inside its main hall will come on Saturday, Aug. 24.
“Auburn is known obviously for a great engineering school and great agriculture school, but to be able to have a venue like this that will bring in artists to support all academics at the University is very important,” Heacox said.
Heacox said the center will put Auburn on par with peer institutions who have performing arts centers. Auburn’s will be one of the largest and most sophisticated in the SEC, Heacox said.
“There will be a lot of state-of-the-art sound, light and acoustical properties that some of our peer institutions possibly won’t have just because of the newness of the building,” Heacox said. “A couple of things that will set us apart is to have this outdoor amphitheater space and the flexibility of the concert hall.”
The hall will be able to handle not just orchestral performances and concerts. It will have the ability to flip purposes to support theatrical performances.