Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Friday, December 10, 2010

Plans Announced for Walton Arts Center(s) Expansion

Bentonville will be the location of a new 2,200-seat Walton Arts Center. Hardly anyone was surprised at this news.

Several months ago, Walton Arts Center-Fayetteville was notified that the Walton Family Foundation would be lead donor only if the expansion were in Bentonville. This statement was crystal clear but it did not preclude proposals by various entities to build it elsewhere.

Fayetteville and University of Arkansas presented a joint proposal to expand the existing site in Fayetteville. Springdale proposed building a new WAC near the ballpark, which offered excellent access to I-540. Rogers offered a proposal and some individual landowners also made proposals.

So a new, larger performing arts center will be built at or near downtown Bentonville, but Fayetteville also received good news. A new 600-seat facility will be built adjacent to the beautiful, existing WAC. I believe this announcement intrinsically means Walton Family Foundation will continue to be the major supporter for Fayetteville WAC sites.

Exactly what “adjacent” to WAC means will be determined later.

As far as that goes, there are a lot of things to be determined in the future. Site selection, funding, timetables, cooperation from and with local governments, and space for additional parking in Fayetteville.

Talk of expansion has been ongoing for at least two years. Big deals take time and this is a big deal. The announcement by Walton Family Foundation is a win-win for both Bentonville and Fayetteville. To stop its support for WAC-Fayetteville would have been catastrophic for the city.
The announcement is certainly wonderful news for all of Northwest Arkansas.

But the drama is not all on-stage. The attorney for the City of Fayetteville is of the opinion that agreements signed in the past bind WAC to be located only in Fayetteville. He opines that Fayetteville should sue to stop the Bentonville site. At this point no official action has been taken. In the meantime, University of Arkansas issued a statement that it will not support a lawsuit. And in today’s paper, some Fayetteville officials have gone on the record against litigation, seeing it as divisive and counter productive.

The future looks bright to me. Let’s leave the drama to the actors. I’m all for culture, the arts, and good entertainment. The Walton Family Foundation has done and continues to do many good works for the people of Northwest Arkansas.

For more information:

Walton Arts Center
Walton Arts Center Expansion Plans

No comments: