Martin Center for the Arts expected to open by Fall 2020

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Later this year, East Tennessee State University plans to officially welcome guests to its multi-million dollar performing arts center.

The project began three years ago, with construction still in full swing along State of Franklin Road.

Pheben Kassahun learned Thursday, the Martin Center for the Arts is on schedule for opening day.

PREVIOUS STORY: FIRST LOOK: ETSU says Martin Center for the Arts on track to open in 2020

The finishing touches are being worked on at the Martin Center for the Arts, that sits right next to the Millennium Center.

“There is nothing in the Tri-Cities that compares to this facility. Twelve-hundred plus seats in the performance auditorium, 200 plus seats in the recital hall, and you can see over 200 in our black box theatre to be reconfigured for more intimate theatrical productions,” Laura Baily said. “We are hoping to draw some nice off-Broadway productions to this venue.”

Laura Bailey is the project manager and planning designer for construction of ETSU facilities. She said this building is a 30-year wish finally coming to fruition, after its groundbreaking in 2017.

The performing arts center will draw in people from not only ETSU but the greater community, Bailey said.

“This is a unique facility. It’s going to be changing our community by bringing events that we’ve never seen before, productions that we will not have the opportunity to see without traveling outside the region,” Bailey said.

There will not be parking on site but surrounding lots will be available for patrons.

“We now are looking at the parking garage here at the Millennium Centre as an option for parking. We also have a large capacity parking garage, just across the street. There will be a light going in as part of this project to direct that traffic, and we also have the pedestrian bridge that connects us from the main campus to us over here,” Bailey said.

Bailey said talks are underway for multiple artists and productions to come to the center.

As for classes, they will launch this summer and fall, in the center’s academic spaces.

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