Expansion On Walton Arts Center Moved Up Because Of Safety Problems

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Construction is underway to expand the Walton Arts Center---at a price tag of 23 million dollars.

President of WAC Peter Lane said the facility puts on 300 events a year. He said they had been planning since November to start a two-year expansion project. He said earlier this week his engineering team informed him that there were technical issues with the stage in the main theater. He said for that safety reason, and because the summer is a slow time for the WAC, they decided to start construction this week.

“What it means means for Northwest Arkansas and Fayetteville is real simple," Lane said, "More arts, more events, more culture, more people, more economic activity...we’re really excited.”

Lane said the multimillion dollar project will add restrooms, offices, enlarge the front lobby and revamp the theater.

“I think it’s great, I come from a big city and I moved here several years ago I was really pleasantly surprised to see that we had such a big theater for the size of the area for the community," a Fayetteville woman said.

Karen Martin lives in Rogers but said she comes to Dickson Street to visit the Arts Center. She said the WAC helps the area economically.

"It’s a great location being on Dickson Street," Martin said, " It brings a lot of traffic down."

The president of WAC said he can't wait for the construction project to wrap up in 2016.

"There is really something for everybody," Lane said, "Broadway, jazz, Shakespeare, theater, dance, the whole gamete... it’s a great place to enjoy and a place we really love."

To make room for construction crews, Ron White's performance has been moved to the AMP in Rogers.

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