Friday, April 19, 2024

VPCC Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Auditorium

From left: Daniela Cigularova (VP of Enrollment Management and Student Services), Steve Carpenter (VP of Finance and Administration), Steven Felker (VP of Institutional Effectiveness and Transformation), Towuanna Porter Brannon (VPCC President), Kerry Ragno (VP of Academic Affairs), Todd Estes (VP of Workforce Development and Innovation), and Chris Kirby (Campus police). (Photo: VPCC)

HAMPTON — Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Dec. 11, for its new theater.

“This endeavor is more than just a construction project. It’s a commitment to our community’s cultural enrichment and educational excellence,” VPCC President Towuanna Porter Brannon told the 75 community officials and college faculty, staff and students who attended the 30-minute ceremony. “We look forward to the new stories that we will get to tell, to the new performances that we will bring to our stage, and to the countless lives that will be touched by the magic of theater.”

The new facility will replace the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium. In April 2021, while the college was closed during the pandemic, the roof collapsed on the old theater. No one was injured in the collapse. The auditorium, which was housed in Templin Hall, was named for Hampton educator and state delegate Dr. Mary T. Christian.

It featured plush seating, a balcony, an orchestra pit, a stage, supporting dressing, wardrobe and practice rooms, and a set construction workshop.

Brannon said the target date for opening the new theater is spring 2025.

“Our vision is ambitious, but we are not just building a theater,” she said. “We’re creating a cultural landmark where talent is nurtured and creativity is celebrated. So together, let’s make this dream a resounding reality.”

The new facility will seat 494 guests, a small increase from the previous venue.

Steve Carpenter, VPCC’s vice president for Finance and Administration, noted the $17 million project is funded by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

RRMM Architects designed the new auditorium, and the W.M. Jordan Company is building the facility.

The name of the new theater has yet to be determined, said Brannon. Several factors will be considered, and stakeholder input will be collected before naming recommendations are provided to the Local College Board, which is responsible for approving the names of campus facilities.

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