The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is slated to become a year-round venue thanks to a $9.5 million renovation project.
The upgrades, which recently got underway, will replace the concessions tent structures with two buildings. The main concession building will feature a second story and will function as an event space as well as a space for local artwork. The aging restroom facilities will be upgraded, as will the pedestrian walkways between the amphitheater lawn and the main plaza.
"For decades, the Saratoga Spa State Park has attracted visitors from across the state and around the world. This project is another major step forward in the renewal of this great park and will provide needed renovations to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that will further cement it as a critical economic and cultural driver in the Capital Region," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.
Concert promoter Live Nation and SPAC are contributing $8 million to the project and a $1.5 million grant from the Empire State Development and State Parks was awarded through the Economic Development Council initiative. MLB Construction Services of Ballston Spa was selected as the contractor.
"Aside from being an economic powerhouse in the region - with an estimated $100 million in annual economic impact - SPAC is a cultural powerhouse as well, bringing best-in-class artists and companies from across all genres. With these series of infrastructure upgrades thanks to Governor Cuomo and Live Nation, SPAC is positioned to be a vibrant international cultural destination for years to come," said Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s president and CEO, in a statement.
With SPAC’s ever-expanding education program and its increased community partnerships, the main concession building will provide space for programming all year round.
The exterior of the second floor will feature a glass and aluminum design, allowing visitors to walk out onto a rooftop terrace. The amphitheater can be viewed from the rooftop. The rooftop area will be used for both public and private functions, depending on the event.
The building’s lobby will feature a visual presentation of SPAC’s history, along with works by local artists.
“The arts are critical to economic growth and community health in New York State, and SPAC is a vital cultural force within the Capital Region. These game-changing improvements will build SPAC as an essential year-round destination, expand on its educational programs that reach thousands of local children, and create crucial opportunities for New York State’s creative workforce,” said New York State Council for the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus in a statement.
Over the last few years, SPAC has been working with New York State Parks, which leases the amphitheater grounds to SPAC, on several projects. This summer, State Parks unveiled a $1.75 million renovation of SPAC’s amphitheater balcony ramps. In 2012, the amphitheater’s facade was upgraded and in 2013 the gateway was upgraded.
The latest project is slated to be completed by May 1, well before the start of SPAC’s traditional summer season in July.