Funding For Local Arts-Related Projects Not In Proposed State Budget

Funding For Local Arts-Related Projects Not In Proposed State Budget

5:00pm Jun 26, 2019
The interior of the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Photo by Jay Sinclair, courtesy of UNCSA.

Some major renovation projects at local universities are on hold for now.

Proposed improvements for UNCSA’s Stevens Center is among those affected by political crossfire over the state budget. 

House Republicans say they needed the local delegation to be united behind the funding for it to be included in their budget version. But instead, they split along partisan lines.

Democrats said they were asked to not just support the funding but also the budget, which is expected to be overridden by Gov. Roy Cooper, also a Democrat, because of Medicaid expansion and other issues.

That was something they were not willing to support. The funding was removed and isn't part of the state budget compromise.

The proposed legislation would have earmarked more than $42 million for upgrades at the Stevens Center. It’s a premier performance venue in Winston-Salem, owned by the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Chancellor Lindsay Bierman says he’s cautiously optimistic that the money will reappear in the not so distant future.

“The fire panel in the building, I just learned this recently, is the oldest in operation that was ever made by the company that installed it during the 1980s renovation, so it reflects the urgent need for the funding,” Bierman says.

Meanwhile, UNCSA will continue to pursue private support to help with some of the improvements.

Two other arts-related projects are also impacted by changes to the proposed state budget. Renovations for the Hauser building at Winston-Salem State University and Wey Hall at Appalachian State University were both included in the initial funding bill.

*You can follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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