"I've never been excited to start school ever until this year, " says Trey McKay. He's a third year theater major at Chipola College who can't wait to start classes next Fall. He loves the new space at the new Chipola Center for the Arts. "It's just so much bigger, so much space to sing and dance and act and the sets can be larger, we can fly scenes in backdrops," says McKay.
The center is a dream 20 years in the making and it's finally come true. "We had a dream of not having a building with cracks in the walls, mold, water in the orchestra at times...lights that didn't work," says President of Chipola College Dr. Gene Prough.
The brand new 16-million dollar performing arts facility at Chipola college can now fit about 300 more guests but along with more chairs, comes more opportunity. Chipola College President Dr. Gene Prough thinks the center opens the curtain for economic development. "We may actually have people come from Panama City to Marianna instead of Marianna to Panama City...or Dothan," says Dr. Prough.
Chipola Center for the Arts Director Charles Sirmon is excited for the new center as well. He says it's an improvement over the last one. He recalls the old one. "The dressing rooms the stage, the back stage, the props, all of it could fit on the main stage here," says Sirmon.
The public had the chance to tour the new facility and even buy tickets for the theater's first show in September.
A section of the theater was dedicated to the late representative David Coley, who died in 2005. His widow, current state representative Marti Coley, accepted in his behalf.