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RENTON, WA-Aa new performing arts center will open here soon thanks to a successful 18-month fund raising drive that brought in $1.5 million toward the center’s construction.

The 550-seat theater, which will be located on the Renton High School campus at 400 S. Second St., will be called the Renton Community IKEA Performing Arts Center, reflecting the retailer’s $500,000 contribution.

The center, which will be constructed on the site of an old junior high wing of the high school that is in the process of being demolished, is slated to open in 2002. It will provide a venue for ballet, jazz festivals, drama and other shows too large for the 300-seat arenas at the Renton Civic Theatre or the city’s Carco Theater. In addition to servicing the arts community, Boeing has expressed interest in renting the theater for occasional employee meetings.

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