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ETSU: James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts on track to be completed by 'early 2020'

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 7, 2018 at 9:23 AM

An East Tennessee State University dream more than three decades old is finally coming to fruition as the James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts continues to take shape after construction began Sept. 9, 2017.

According to campus officials, the $53 million project is projected to be completed by February or March 2020, months after the university originally projected the building to be complete by fall or winter 2019. In 2019, ETSU staff will begin planning for upcoming events at the new center.

"The Martin Center for the Arts is within budget and progressing toward a completion date of early 2020. In addition to the structural progress currently taking place, more excitement will begin in 2019,” ETSU Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Ross wrote in an emailed statement Tuesday. “Staff will start planning the first programming and events to take place at the performing arts center. They will focus on how to bring ETSU and the Johnson City community together to promote the arts.”

Ross said he is excited for the event planning stage, which will begin during the first half of 2019 before finishing touches are made during the second half of the year.

“It’s still progressing,” he said. “We’re working toward the building being finished, and we’re looking forward to the beginning part of the year when the staff begins communicating and putting together contracts for the types of events that will take place.

“We also look forward to the finishings taking place with the walls, carpeting, seating and lighting.”

In January, the university began taking donations for additional enhancements, including new technology, instruments and equipment to complete the center’s rooms for music, theater and art events. Michael Webb, director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences, said then that he was excited to see the “state-of-the-art facility” serve as a cultural centerpiece for the campus community and Johnson City.

“Building a center like this is nuanced in that each room is unique in what it is used for, from a black box studio theater and a music performance hall to a recital hall,” he said during January’s push to raise additional funds.

Ross said Wednesday that the campus is still moving forward with shopping for some of these equipment purchases.

For more information on the new center’s progress, visit www.etsu.edu/arts/possibilities/artscenter.php.

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