WAC Gets Public Opinion Before $10 Million Bond Question

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Some Fayetteville officials want $10 million in bond money to pay for area projects, including the expansion of the Walton Arts Center (WAC). But first, they have to convince voters to approve the proposal.

The WAC organized a public input session on its $20 million expansion design Tuesday (October 29), to talk to voters about the proposal and listen to what they had to say.

"It's a really helpful part of the process that helps us figure out what we need to think about moving forward," said Beth Bobbitt, WAC Public Relations Manager.

The bond would spend $6.9 million on the WAC expansion, but would not raise taxes. A "yes" vote would redirect money from the already-existing hotel-motel-restaurant tax to the projects, which also include $3.5 million for a regional park in Fayetteville.

Boora Architects from Portland, Oregon, are the design team and were available for questions and feedback since the design isn't set in stone yet.

"The design process is a very important, complicated process and without that input, it's a difficult task," said Jeff Koenig, chairman for Three Votes Fayetteville Committee. "I think it's important just like the ability to be able to vote in the tax situation," Koenig said.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 12 to decide whether or not to help partially fund the WAC's $20 million expansion.

"We're talking about almost 30,000-square-feet of space, so most of that is in the lobby, Starr Theater and backstage support space," Bobbitt said.

Other improvements include technical theater upgrades and more room for arts and performances.

"The Walton Arts Center is such an important and pivotal part of our community, and my school kids from Holcomb come here every year," said Tracy Mulvenon, Holcomb Elementary principal, who attended Tuesday's public input session.

In the meantime, WAC officials said they are waiting to see what happens with the election.

"If it doesn't pass, we will have to go back and reevaluate what we are able to do," Bobbitt said.

The WAC will seek more input from the public Wednesday (Oct. 30) at noon in the McBride Studio inside the WAC.