Advisory committee recommends Century II stays, new center is built

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The Wichita City Council will continue their discussion around the future of Century II.  In Tuesday's meeting, a citizens advisory committee made their final recommendation. It includes building a new performing arts center instead of renovating the 50-year-old facility. 

The committee also recommended that Century II be left standing, suggesting the space be used for another purpose. 

Mary Beth Jarvis, a member of the advisory committee, says starting from scratch is the cheapest option. Renovating Century II would cost millions more. 

Quinn Lake, a musician with the Wichita Symphony and member of the committee, says there are issues with the facility people may not see from the audience. 

"The facility has all kinds of structural problems that people don't see. Like a lack of dressing room space, a lack of a rehearsal room," said Lake. 

Another complaint is the noise that bleeds through between halls. 

The lack of backstage space and the inability to integrate new technology into the facility means there are certain shows that can't come to Wichita because their productions require more space and technology. 

"We've got modern capabilities we need to gain that we've been sort of compromising around for some years," said Jarvis, "The citizens want our arts and culture life to thrive, and they believe we need to leap forward to the facilities that will allow that to happen."

The committee was appointed nearly a year ago. Since then, the group made up of 12 members has been researching and brainstorming. 

Members say based on surveys and public input, people in Wichita desire a facility that is a dynamic addition to Wichita's skyline. 

"We have the opportunity to do it distinctive and bold and customized to our community," said Jarvis.

Mayor Jeff Longwell likes the idea of being bold with decisions, but says city council will continue to discuss the future of Century II. 

"We're still working on some information that I think is critically important to this community, " said Longwell. 

Related Stories:

Public weighs in on future of Century II's future

Committee says changes needed at Century II

Community leaders hear challenges facing Century II

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