The Riley Performing Arts Center will be home to two major venues. The 1,000-seat Grand Opera House will host plays and musicals and perhaps a ballet or two. A smaller, 220-seat Studio Theatre will provide for a more intimate atmosphere for other events.
"We are going to offer a wide variety of performing arts events from concerts, dance, family attractions, world culture events to educational opportunities for school children in the surrounding area," said Sankovich.
The center will host field trips for school children, which will give them a hands-on performing arts experience. Schools from an 80 to 90-mile radius are expected to take part.
The educational opportunities are not just for school children. A conference center will provide an arena for continuing education seminars and other events. It can also be used for community gatherings and wedding receptions.
"We want to train other people through our conference facilities and make it available to different types of seminars and continuing education opportunities with MSU and a lot of our outreach programs through the college," Sankovich said.
Sankovich estimates the Riley Center will host anywhere from 50 to 60 events each year, drawing an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 people to downtown Meridian. The opening is expected in late summer of 2006.