New civic facility lifts the curtain on arts and opera
Seattle, WA. – June 22, 2017 – Seattle Opera announced today that it has started construction on its new $60 million new civic home located on the east side of the Seattle Center campus, next door to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall where Seattle Opera’s performances take place.
The new four-story, 106,352 sq. ft. building will contain administrative offices, costume, prop and tech storage, scene assembly, rehearsal and community and education spaces. It is designed to showcase the making of art with large windows along Speight Jenkins Way and Mercer Street that will give the passerby a view into the costume shop and community spaces.
The goal of the project is to create “a purpose-built space” that unlocks opera for all,” said Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang. “It will serve as a civic space where anyone can see and learn about the technical and artistic aspects of putting together a show.”
The building is designed to include dedicated space for apprentice programs for young people to learn everything from rigging to lights to non-profit art management – and rehearsal space for artists and teachers to create more education programs both on site and throughout the state.
“Education and engagement are at the heart of Seattle Opera’s mission and we want to grow our reach with this new civic building,” added Lang. The company, which is the largest arts employer in the state, serves more than 70,000 people through education and community programs, and demand is growing especially among younger people. Since 2011, participation in its school programs has more than tripled with 30,000 participants under the age of 18 and in schools with no arts programs.
In addition, the new civic home will allow Seattle Opera to consolidate most operations. Currently, Seattle Opera rents rehearsal, operations and administrative space in the South Lake Union neighborhood and trucks its sets to and from McCaw Hall. The new building will be connected to the McCaw Hall stage, limiting the use of trucks, reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
Three Seattle design and construction firms are working on the project, NBBJ, Lease Crutcher Lewis and Shiels Obletz Johnsen. The debut of the new civic facility will be winter 2018.
The City of Seattle owns the site where the new civic building will rise with a long-term ground lease with Seattle Opera. Seattle Opera is leveraging approximately $14 million in city, county and state funds to raise the additional private and grant donations. 84% of the money has been raised, according to Lang.