FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University today announced a $325,000 gift from BB&T Bank to build the amphitheatre of the FMU Performing Arts Center.
One of the most significant features of the Performing Arts Center, the large outdoor amphitheatre, extends the range of performances and social possibilities to a new level. Featuring a central grassy area, it will accommodate between 300 and 400 guests.
“The outdoor amphitheatre is an essential part of the Performing Arts Center and a centerpiece of the downtown Florence cultural corridor. This gift guarantees the construction of the facility,” said FMU President Fred Carter. “BB&T’s investment is an indication of the bank’s confidence in Francis Marion and our community.”
The amphitheatre will be used for casual outdoor concerts, plays and community-wide events, where attendees can bring their own seating or sprawl comfortably on a blanket on the grass and for formal events desiring a spacious outdoor venue with seating.
"We view this gift as an investment," said Frank James, BB&T senior vice president and city executive. "This is an investment in the future of the Performing Arts Center and Francis Marion University. It is also an investment in the future of Florence downtown redevelopment and in the promise of a new century of musicians, educators and citizens."
The center will be located on 3.93 acres of land at the corner of Dargan and West Palmetto and used for performances, programs and exhibits. The facility will also include instructional space for use by the university’s fine arts program. Construction is expected to be complete in the summer of 2010.
“The new Performing Arts Center, planned strategically in the heart of Florence, will provide many opportunities for collaboration and new educational and cultural experiences,” Carter said.
Estimates place the project in the $30 million range. The performing arts center will contain space for theatrical and musical performances, as well as instructional classroom and office space. FMU's fine arts program will use the center for performances, programs and art exhibits. National traveling music, dance and theater productions will be booked to perform at the center as well.
#34 / 9-24-08