The polish of the newly opened Mesa Arts Center gives way to tarnish at the Scottsdale Center of the Performing Arts, which faces its 30th birthday and possibly a major touch up.
Once surrounded by open air with a large entrance overlooking grassy knolls and walkways, the Scottsdale grande dame is surrounded today by buildings and parking garages on two sides.
So, on Tuesday, a day after nearly 230 summer classes in 14 new studios begin at the $94.5 million Mesa Arts Center, the Scottsdale City Council may bring its performing arts center back in step by approving a $8.3 million multiyear renovation and expansion plan.
"The building is looking a little tired and old," said Ric Alling, vice president of operations for the Scottsdale Cultural Council, which manages the city’s arts programs. "It’s time to give it a bit of a face-lift."
That face-lift would include creating a loading area for service vehicles away from public entrances, moving the center’s gift shop to a larger area, relocating the box office, expanding the second floor to 2,000 square feet, installing a new elevator and building a café.
John Douglas, architect and owner of Douglas Architecture and Planning in Scottsdale, said his vision for the center is to bring it back into the limelight.
"It used to be a place of public pride," he said. "But like every building, after 30 years, it suffers through things that take away from the luster of the original idea."
Alling said if the council approves the renovation plan, construction would start next spring and finish in fall 2007.
Construction to increase the number of restrooms will begin Monday in a separate $500,000 project expected to be done in September for the center’s 30th anniversary celebration.
The Mesa center opened April 22 with a five-gallery, 5,500-square-foot museum, Mesa Contemporary Arts.
The theater portion is set to open Sept. 17 with a performance by Michael Crawford, the original star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "The Phantom of the Opera."
MAC will be the largest, most comprehensive arts center in the state, said Robert Schultz, assistant director of art and education.
Under construction in Tempe, the 88,000-squarefoot Tempe Center for the Arts is due to open next year. The $65.7 million center, being built along Tempe Town Lake, will feature a 600-seat theater, a 200-seat studio theater, meeting and administrative space, and a 17-acre arts park.