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New ArtsCenter facility to hold soft opening in August after renovations

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The ArtsCenter in Carrboro is in the process of moving to a new location. The current facility is pictured on Monday, Feb. 27.

After months of deliberation and renovation, a soft opening of the new ArtsCenter facility at 400 Roberson St. in Carrboro is scheduled for August of this year.

The new location was previously expected to open in May, Mark Bettger, the deputy director for the ArtsCenter, said. He also said although the facility will likely be open in August, it will probably not be fully operational until September. 

The current location is on East Main Street in Carrboro. The Carrboro Town Council voted in favor of the ArtsCenter's relocation and renovation in June 2022. 

Throughout the relocation process, the ArtsCenter has prioritized sustainability, said David A. Gange, the architect involved with the center's renovations. 

The new facility is a renovated building that previously housed different offices, including some affiliated with UNC.  

The center has also received funding from Orange County and the state of North Carolina to install a solar array on the roof to lower the facility’s energy footprint, Gange said. 

The new facility will also feature LED lighting and electric vehicle charging stations for both cars and bikes.

Bettger said the ArtsCenter strives to create a more accessible space for visitors. The new facility is a one-story building with accessible entryways, toilets and sinks. 

There is also a 5-foot wide ramp connected to the stage in the performance space, which makes it more accessible for those who use mobility aids. 

Anoo Tree Brod, an improv performer and teacher at the ArtsCenter, said the stage in the current facility does not have a ramp. This has made performing difficult for one student in her improv class, who uses a wheelchair, she said. 

Brod said she is delighted to hear the new facility will have an accessible stage. 

According to its website, the ArtsCenter's vision is "to create an educational environment that provides opportunities, inspiration and tools to individuals of all ages and skill levels to participate in the arts."

Bettger said the new facility will offer more opportunities for visitors to explore and learn about technologies that will enrich their art-making experience. 

He added that the facility will also cater to "tech-savvy teenagers" through the Technology Center, a part of the ArtsCenter, where individuals will be able to incorporate 3D printing. They will also be able to use virtual reality in their art and access resources such as green screens and video projectors. 

There is also a Youth Education Center at the ArtsCenter, which will include a STEAM lab for people of all ages, and a Fiber Arts Lab, where fiber artists can easily access expensive equipment. "STEAM" stands for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math .

“Basically, we want to create workable environments where people can let their creative desires run wild,” Bettger said. 

Bettger said the new ArtsCenter will have outdoor space to hold outside events. It will also be a destination spot for visitors, complete with seating and a gallery. 

He also said the move is coming at a good time, as the current facility is old and in constant need of expensive repairs.

“The HVAC system is beginning to fail, the roof is beginning to leak, the floors are beginning to crack and peel,” Bettger said. “It’s time to get out.”

Gange said he approached the project with the goal of renovating the nondescript existing building into a lively, engaging new home for the ArtsCenter while also incorporating requested features. The exterior of the building will be painted a lighter, brighter color, and it will feature illuminated signage. 

“It’s a creative client and a creative vision for the new facility,” Gange said.

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While she has made over 20 years of memories in the current facility, Brod said she is excited to experience the new one. 

“No matter how amazing this new space is, it’s going to be a transition to just say goodbye to the space that’s held so many precious memories for me personally,” she said. 

Still, Bettger said the updated facility will allow for the center to continue operations without challenges.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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