Arts center sets groundbreaking

By MAX FILBY
STAFF WRITER
The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts is set to break ground on Tuesday.
The public is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the site of the former Central Middle School, where the new arts center will open in the fall of 2015.
The arts center will cost $10 million to build. Marathon Petroleum Corp. made a large, but unspecified, contribution in November.
“Their contribution was outstanding,” said Edward Reading, chairman of the board of the new arts center. “We’re so lucky to have them here in Findlay.”
Marathon Chief Executive Officer Gary Heminger and his wife, Jane, are co-chairs of the fundraising committee for the arts center. “This performing arts center is critical to the growth and prosperity of this community,” Heminger said.
The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts is on track to be one of the largest facilities in the area, with about 1,000 seats in the auditorium, Reading said.
The center will host touring performances that were too large for the original Central auditorium, said Katherine Kreuchauf, a board member. The new center will have a full back stage, including fly space above and wings beside the stage.
The fly space will harbor scenery on frames and cables, lighting, and rigging to raise and lower the lighting. The stage’s wings will allow for more room to quickly move performers on and off stage, Kreuchauf said.
The center will also include classrooms, areas for performers to rehearse, an art gallery and a black box theater.
The new arts center is being designed by RCM Architects of Findlay, headed by W. Jerry Murray, Kreuchauf said. Murray has been a longtime supporter of the project.
The project began with the demolition of most of Central Middle School in 2013. In return, Findlay City Schools will be permitted to host a number of performances for free in the new facility.
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