Juneau, AK (KINY) - With the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center building continuing to move forward, there has been some discussion brought up that surrounds the unique situation involving the design and financial sources.
The CBJ Finance Committee decided that they will be taking a look at two proposals during a meeting on August 13th, with one of those going to the voters. We talked to Ben Brown of the JAHC about the new building, who told us some of the design points they are looking at, but he did say that there is not anything really set in stone as they want to be reactive to community needs.
As of now, they are designing the new JACC building to have a 300 seat performing arts space, a versatile 100 seat black box event studio, and a community hall that can seat 300 for a tabled meal or function.
Brown further elaborated on the idea of enlarging the community hall.
“There has been some talk about making the community hall larger, thereby allowing maybe 400 people seated for a function. The idea that was put forward in the ordinance that was discussed last night at the Finance Committee meeting was for that portion of the new JACC be partially funded by public funds generated by the sale of general obligation bonds.”
“Now if that’s not something that the Assembly are interested in asking the voters to do, or if they want to see if the voters want the new JACC to be supported in some other fashion, we would be responsive to that, just like we have tried to be responsive to the concerns raised about 300 people not being enough for the community hall.”
“So there’s not a definitive answer right now. The confusion is all about asking what the people want. We are not trying to force the vision of the right size of the community hall on the community. 300 is what our scoping and input process yielded initially, but we are happy to amend that (probably not for a lower amount, but certainly a larger amount) if the will and the intended resources are put behind that.”
With the combining of the management of the JACC and Centennial Hall, this would open up opportunities for much larger events.
“With the co-management of Centennial Hall, it also offers an integrated facility that hopefully can be linked with Centennial Hall so that if a group wants to have a very large convention, it would be possible to use all of Centennial Hall and all of the JACC spaces for a convention that has 500 or more attendees, which is something that we simply do not have the capacity for in Alaska’s capital city right now.”
Brown also explained to us the level of financial commitment they've seen so far.
“We’ve had almost 70 individuals donate $10,000 as groundbreakers and we’ve another 25-30 people donate upwards of that up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have a very robust amount of public participation in the project and we certainly welcome more.”
“We also have a great deal of interest from corporations and foundations, who are interested in seeing what amount the community through the government of the City and Borough of Juneau might be willing to invest in the project.”
“I think that interest comes in the fact that the JACC is owned by the CBJ. The JACC is a city asset on city land and so if it’s going to be torn down, then its replacement even if it is run by a private non-profit (the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council) is replacing a city asset and so that’s we want people to consider the possibility of some sort of public investment.”
There will be a Summer Block Party on Friday from 5:30pm - 7pm at the Centenial Hall lot to celebrate the 45th birthday of the JAHC and explain aspects of the project to the public. Members of the public can be more involved by visiting newjacc.org or by finding the New JACC Facebook and Instagram pages.