The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced that it is planning to build a new state-of-the-art, 20,000-square-foot music center in Little Rock’s East Village.

The $9 million Stella Boyle Smith Music Center, named for the orchestra’s longest standing and most generous patron, will serve for rehearsals, recitals and small-ensemble concerts and would be able to seat up to 300. It will also comprise a number of practice spaces, music classrooms, climate-controlled instrument storage, and “additional flexible space to serve future generations of Arkansans,” according to a news release. The building will include a dedicated streaming studio, something for which the pandemic has created a demand. The new facility will also provide new space for the orchestra’s administrative offices.

The announcement primarily focuses on the shift from private fundraising, which has brought in $5.4 million over two years, 60 percent of the expected total cost, to public fundraising to come up with the remainder.

The goal is to have the center complete by July 2023. The orchestra’s symphony concerts will still be at Robinson Performance Hall.

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