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Finishing touches nearly complete on SUNY Potsdam Performing Arts Center

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POTSDAM — The finishing touches are still being made at SUNY Potsdam’s Performing Arts Center, but the $55 million building is hosting its first student performance this weekend and next, with William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

The Performing Arts Center is the college’s first academic building since 1973. It opened officially in December, although some areas were still unfinished. Although work continues, offices have been filled, classes are being held and events are being planned for the space.

The 97,000-square-foot facility includes two theaters, a dance performance space, numerous studios, workshops and office spaces. No longer will students have to practice and perform in makeshift facilities, said Department of Theater and Dance Chairman Jay W. Pecora.

“The students are delighted, they’re just over the moon,” he said. “All of the performance spaces are ready to go.”

The building also houses the college’s Community Performance Series box office, which has been moved from Snell Hall.

“It’s pretty cool; there’s a lot more traffic,” said box office manager Jason L. Dominie.

Another new addition is the Performing Arts Cafe, which serves Starbucks coffee along with sandwiches and paninis. The cafe opened last month, and already serves 300 customers a day.

“Making spaces that people want to hang out in is a great asset,” said Potsdam Auxiliary and College Educational Services marketing coordinator Abigail D. Lee, who helps oversee the cafe and other campus dining facilities.

Events at the center will kick off in earnest April 25, with the start of the college’s annual Lougheed Festival of the Arts. A host of events and activities are planned in the center during the festival, which lasts until May 3.

“Twelfth Night” opened Thursday and is showing at 7:30 p.m. each day until April 13 in the Proscenium Theater, with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students.

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