Center for the Arts Opens at Chipola College

By: Bergen Baucom
By: Bergen Baucom

Marianna, FL - Chipola College welcomed the new Center for the Arts building to it's campus Tuesday evening. President Gene Prough stood along side board, faculty and community members as he cut the ribbon to the 16 million dollar facility.

"Future generations will be able to have theatrical productions, they'll be able to do anything with an orchestra, they'll be able to do anything here that they could do anywhere else in the nation" Prough said.

The new stage alone is large enough to house the previous theater. The 55 thousand square foot center has a dance studio, art gallery, two story set design workshop, a 2000 pound grand curtain and 50 cables capable of holding anything from scenery to actors.

Theater director Charles Sirmon told us he had been on stages all across the country, but that the new theater was one of a kind.

"We've toured theaters now for eight or nine years and there's nothing like it that I've seen. I think what we've done is put the best of the best in our product here, and I think people in this area are going to be amazed at what they see" said Sirmon.

Among the 650 plus seats, a section in the balcony was dedicated to State Representative Marti Coley and her family in honor of her late husband, representative David Coley. The section will be named after him.

"I know he would be proud. He loved Chipola, first of all. I'm just proud to have my husband's name involved" said Coley.

David had been influential in the legislature during the early planning stages of the center.

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