Bakersfield, California Puts Performing Arts Center on Hold After Seeing Price Tag

Classic Arts News   Bakersfield, California Puts Performing Arts Center on Hold After Seeing Price Tag
The cost of a new downtown performing arts center in Bakersfield has been projected to run to $341 million — and local authorities are experiencing sticker shock, reports the Bakersfield Californian.

The new center would allow the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra to move from its current home at the Rabobank Theater, where the acoustics are reportedly inadequate.

The paper writes that local attorney Milton Younger, who has been heading the private committee overseeing the center, has "reluctantly ... withdrawn the committee from the project" because the cost was "so large that it is not feasible to proceed."

Prominent architect and Bakersfield native Robert McCoy, on the other hand, is undaunted, telling the paper that "the project is viable." Orchestra manager Nancy Marvin added that, despite the high costs, a new center is "not a closed issue."

The $341 million number was provided by consultants. Land acquisition for the proposed downtown site (which is currently occupied) has been estimated at more than $11 million, with building costs at more than $247 million; other costs such as architect's fees and building permit fees would bring the total figure up to $341 million, writes the paper.

Around $100 million will need to be raised up front, although the committee is looking at options such as selecting a cheaper site. Downtown, however, the remains first choice.

The Californian writes that the community has wanted a new home for the orchestra since the 1960s, following unsuccessful proposals for a concert hall near the present-day Rabobank Arena.

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