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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: November 19, 2004

Groundbreaking Scheduled for 2005

The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees has awarded a $30.78 million contract to FTR International, Inc. of Irvine to build a new music and performing arts complex at the college’s Madison campus.

The complex will include a 540-seat performing arts hall, a renovation of the campus for the Music Department, conversion of the existing auditorium to a rehearsal hall, and parking improvements.

The project will be funded with $24 million from Measure S, the $135 million bond approved by Santa Monica-Malibu voters earlier this month; $3 million from Measure U, approved by voters in 2002, with up to an additional $1 million from Measure U available for a contingency; $1 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation allocated for parking; and the remainder to come from funds raised privately by the SMC Foundation. Groundbreaking is expected in early 2005.

“We are absolutely thrilled we’ve reached this milestone,” said Dale Franzen, Director of the Madison Project. “Under the visionary leadership of SMC President Piedad Robertson and the SMC Board of Trustees, we look forward to bringing the highest artistic and educational programming to our college and community.”

The performing arts hall – designed by renowned Santa Monica architect Renzo Zecchetto – is the centerpiece for an overall transformation of SMC's Madison campus, located on Santa Monica Boulevard between 10th and 11th streets. It currently houses several SMC programs, but is slowly being transformed into a visual and performing arts center, including the 3,000-square-foot Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery, a state-of-the-art space that has been open for four years.

The plan has won the endorsement of a wide range of community residents, arts and cultural organizations, children's and education groups, and senior citizen organizations. Among the supporters is SMC alumnus and Oscar winning actor Dustin Hoffman, whose company, 3 Coasts, will be in residence at Madison; Los Angeles Opera General Director Placido Domingo; Los Angeles dancer Lula Washington, and more.

SMC officials have been working over the last three years to lay the groundwork for its exciting plan for a facility that will not only serve the needs of SMC students, but also be a community resource and performing arts venue for visiting professional performing arts organizations.

Aside from raising funds and meeting with arts and community organizations and individuals throughout Santa Monica and Southern California, college officials began a highly successful free Madison performance series, now in its fifth year. The diverse series has featured performers ranging from members of the Kirov-Mariinsky Opera to world artist Lila Downs. Thousands of school children and adults have attended the performances.

The Madison Project has gone through a rigorous environmental review that was conducted after an extensive community outreach program.

The new complex is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.



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