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Local & Regional

City Councilors Ask More Questions About Performing Arts Center Proposal

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Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center is still being considered for a piece of the upcoming Vision renewal.

Its director and trust have asked for nearly $95 million for an expansion and total renovation of the nearly 40-year-old building. PAC Trust Chair Stanton Doyle said 50 and even 60 years old isn’t much further away, and then it might be too late to just renovate.

"Replacement cost for a facility like this is between $300 and 500 million dollars. Of course, you can go higher than that, and they're doing that all over the country," Doyle said. "Oklahoma City did a $53 million renovation of their civic center in 1998, which was 30 years after their previous renovation."

PAC’s director and trust say national acts skip Tulsa because the facility isn’t up to par. Director John Scott said 37 percent of ticket sales are to people outside the Tulsa metro area.

"That, I believe, very much confirms our contention that we're a regional attraction, not just a local community benefit but, in fact, people come from all over the five-state region," Scott said.

Scott said building and production systems are obsolete. The proposal also calls for parking garage repairs and a new 1,200-seat theater.

Doyle said the performing arts have proven to be a good investment elsewhere.

"Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, says for every dollar spent on tickets, they see about $20 additional spent in their community, and I'm sure that includes hotel costs and several meals," Doyle said.

Councilors asked whether some projects could be put off for inclusion on a third penny sales tax renewal in a few years.