With a price tag of $124.8 million, there is some concern that the burden of paying for the construction of the Valley Performing Arts Center, which is set to have its groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow, will eventually end up on the shoulders of students.
Administrators and boosters say that every attempt is being made to keep that from happening.
Nearly half of the funds, or $63.1 million, have already been received in the form of state capital outlay funds for building construction and equipment. Future budget cuts would not affect this money.
Another $7.7 million has been received by other government agencies. The City and County of Los Angeles have given a total of $2.5 million, while private donors such as Mike Curb ($5 million), the late Clyde Porter ($2 million) and attorney David Fleming ($1 million) donated to the project. An additional $6 million in pledged donor funds are expected.
CSUN itself has already spent $4 million from unrestricted campus funds and has budgeted spending an additional $2.6 million from the same account in the future. The University Corporation has given $8 million and is pledging an additional $1 million. Approximately $1.9 million is expected to come from unrestricted interest on trust funds in 2007.
That means another $30 million still needs to be drummed up before the center is completed in 2010.
“Those are the tougher dollars, because we’ve hit a lot of people that have already contributed so we need to get new sources of contributions,” said David Fleming, already a major donor and vice chairman of the Imagine the Arts fundraising campaign. “We’re looking at major corporations that normally would consider naming sports venues and my argument is that, you know, with 30,000 students a day, that’s a lot of impressions they get for naming a facility like the Performing Arts Center.”
The campaign is also looking outside the valley for money, Fleming said.
But there’s still the question of what happens if fundraising efforts fall short. The answer is a two-parter.
First, the California State University board of trustees approved a resolution at their January 2008 meeting to issue $18.5 million in system-wide revenue bonds for the VPAC, “should fundraising proceeds not materialize on schedule.”
Second, the trustees approved an internal loan of $18.5 million, to be repaid by revenues generated by the VPAC and “unrestricted earnings on trust funds.”
Gailya Brown, director of the VPAC fundraising campaign, said that in addition to the state-of-the-art facilities that will be available to CSUN students, it’s an important facility to the campus for other reasons.
“It is opening the doors for us to people who really had not known anything about CSUN,” she said, “(such as) people who can be substantial supporters of this university across the board for all of our programs.”
Brown said that as she talks to people about being potential donors for the VPAC, “some will say, that sounds like a great project, but my passion is really something else.”
One thing Brown wants everyone to understand is that a big portion of the VPAC will support the educational mission of CSUN.
In addition to the 1,700-seat performance hall, there will be a smaller, flexible-use theater with 178 seats that will be used by students in the theater and music departments. The KCSN radio station will have a full production studio and a 150-seat lecture hall will also be incorporated into the building.
“Our theater and music departments were very involved in the design of the facility,” Brown said, “to be certain it met the needs of the academic program? so a big portion of this building is for academic purposes.”