A grand opening for Butte College's new $28.7 million Arts Center was held Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. on the main campus, 3536 Butte Campus Drive.
The 77,000 square-foot center houses 42 different types of instructional environments serves as the home for all of the college's music, fine and visual arts programs. The facility is dedicated to performing arts - including a 4,500 square-foot black-box theater and its supporting spaces which include costume and makeup rooms; acting labs; a set construction shop and high-bay storage.
"This state-of-the-art facility is truly amazing and one our faculty and staff have dreamed about for years," said Diana Van Der Ploeg, Butte College president. "We are grateful to the voters who approved Measure A in 2002 providing us the opportunity to create such a magnificent learning space."
Construction of the facility was made possible by the college's local bond, Measure A, approved by voters in 2002. The building was funded using $16 million of Measure A funding along with additional state funding from the passage of Proposition 1D which voters approved in 2006 for $12.66 million.
The black box theater allows the moveable riser seating to be arranged differently for each show so that performances may be staged in various configurations from traditional to in the round, seating 300-400 people.
"We're very excited. We've never had a performing arts space on the campus or an on-site space to build our sets or costumes. This facility is equipped with the latest sound and lighting technologies. We will be able to teach all aspects of stage craft to our students and stage quality productions right here on campus. It really is a top-notch facility," said Barry Piccinino, Butte College drama instructor.
Even before its official grand opening, the Arts Center, which was in the planning stages for five years and under construction for 16 months, was honored for its energy saving and green design and construction practices. The facility was recently awarded the prestigious Higher Education Energy Efficiency Partnership Best Practice Award in New Construction HVAC Design & Retrofit and an Honorable Mention for Water Efficiency at the 2009 UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The new facility is powered in part by the college's solar array and exceeds California Energy Code requirements by 35 percent. Other sustainability features of the new and largest building on the campus include: evaporative cooling; 100% outside air HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units incorporating CO2 sensors; waterless urinals, ultra low-flow sensor faucets and low-flow water closets resulting in a 48.5 percent reduction in water usage over traditional facilities; electric vehicle refueling stations; comprehensive campus bus service, vanpool program and bicycle storage with permeable surfacing.
"Not only is it an energy efficient building, it's an over-all healthy building," said Mike Miller, Butte College Director of Facilities Planning and Management.
PG&E Regional Director Lia White credited the college for the building's efficient design which provides annual energy savings of 215,491 kilowatt hours of electricity and 1,856 therms of natural gas, the same amount of energy used by 35 homes.
White presented a rebate check for $82,228 from PG&E's Savings by Design program and allocates rebates for new construction project that exceed state building code requirements for energy efficiency.
"Butte College is committed to being a national leader in sustainability among community colleges through its leadership in constructing LEED buildings, solar projects, and conservation," said Nava.
The Arts Center will be open for classes at the start of fall semester, August 24, and will present its first public performance, the Broadway acclaimed rock musical "Rent," Nov. 6 - Nov. 15. Tickets can be purchased by calling 879-8403.