UAS readies outdoor theater

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2001

The University of Alaska Southeast will soon break ground on an outdoor theater.

The new facility will be located on the hill behind the campus, on a diagonal from the university library. The site is currently being used for this weekend's production of "Jason and Medea."

"Imagine this beautiful facility with actual walkways and a covered area and skylights," said Lynne Johnson, director of development and university relations. "It will be a facility for the community. It should be pretty exciting."

Perseverance Theatre, Theatre in the Rough, Juneau Jazz and Classics and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council have all expressed interest in using the pavilion once it is constructed, and have provided input during the planning stages, said UAS Chancellor John Pugh.

"There's not a lot of areas in town for outdoor performing," Pugh said. "It's also going to work well for us as an area for our students to do some events during the year."

An outdoor amphitheater has been part of UAS' master plan for nearly 20 years. The original concept called for a site near the lake in the middle of campus. However, the area was deemed too noisy and the current forest site was chosen.

"The trees do a really good job of keeping the sound in," Pugh said. "It's really good acoustics. It also has a tremendous view - that didn't hurt. I'd say that not only the performance but the view and just the atmosphere helped us all decide that it was a better venue."

The project will cost $525,300, Johnson said. More than half that total has already been covered by corporate gifts and a large contribution from the Noyes family. They will be recognized in an Aug. 3 groundbreaking ceremony, and the facility will be named in their honor.

After the ceremony, fundraising efforts within the community will begin.

"I'm real confident that we're going to have a lot of support from the community," Pugh said. "People want this to happen, so I think it will happen."

Johnson agreed, calling the responses she'd received "very positive."

Construction will begin in August. The earliest the pavilion will be completed is in the summer of 2003, Pugh said.

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