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NEW YORK CITY-Ten wooded acres in West Nyack will be developed as the new Rockland Center for the Arts. Groundbreaking on the project is scheduled for Sept. 2003 and delivery of the dramatic building is scheduled for spring 2005, officials of the 55-year-old arts organization revealed yesterday.

Manhattan-based Hariri and Hariri, the award-winning architectural firm behind the project, was chosen from a field of 37 bidders. The design was unveiled by RoCA at yesterday’s luncheon meeting of the Rockland Business Association.

“The plan we have chosen is remarkable also for its functionality,” said Alan Koss, chairman of the RoCA strategic planning committee. “It includes a renovation of the existing building, and sweeps it into an entirely new concept that is frankly, quite breathtaking to contemplate on the hill and the Center’s 10 acres. Our objective in commissioning this design has been to serve our mission of providing the community with fine and applied arts through presentation, education and outreach, and we believe this concept more than does so.”

The 26,000-sf project will comprise several elements. First is the renovated facility of 1,800 sf of additional studio space for ceramics, sculpture and jewelry making to support the art school. Another 1,800 sf renovation will house administration, a computer lab and student/faculty lounge.

The $4-million project’s second element will include a new 5,000 square foot exhibition space with a museum and separate regional gallery. In addition, a multi-purpose lecture and performance space that converts into meeting and executive conference areas opens into a natural amphitheater for outdoor performances. The museum, gallery and performance areas are supported by a museum shop and indoor/outdoor cafe and also encompass office space and storage.The third primary element includes driveway access, circulation, signage and parking for 100 cars. There also will be an outdoor sculpture garden and walkways through the property that will link up with the adjacent state park.

“The new Rockland Center for the Arts will make a huge positive difference for the future of Rockland County,” said Board President Noel Oursler, noting that studies of changing demographic patterns have shown that the availability of arts as culture, entertainment and recreation help bring and keep people in growing areas.

The building program will be supported by a Capital Campaign to raise $4 million for construction of the design and to endow the Center’s programs. The capital campaign will engage a range of individual, corporate and institutional fund-raising opportunities and will include a variety of opportunities for individuals and businesses to associate their brand or their name with the institution. The museum and regional gallery, performance area, arts school, sculpture park and digital studio all present naming opportunities for contributors.

The Rockland Center for the Arts was founded in 1948 by such luminaries as Helen Hayes, Maxwell Anderson, Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. In 1970, the Center constructed a building to house a gallery, art studios and office space. The Center’s School for the Arts offers 100 courses for children and adults over three semesters annually with an enrollment of 500 per semester. A summer arts day camp for children has an enrollment of 160 per session for two sessions each July and August. The Center presents a full season of curated exhibitions and performances in its Emerson Gallery.

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