The University of Alabama has reached its fundraising goal for the new Performing Arts Academic Center (PAAC) for the theatre and dance students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Plans for the $15 million project have been underway for over five years, with conversations for the need for a new facility for performing arts going back decades. The foundation of the PAAC would be from the refurbished skeleton of Bryce Hospital's main building on campus until it was fully restored and renovated.

"Any time you can reach a fundraising goal and achieve success for the betterment of the University and our students, it is an exciting time," Bob Pierce, UA's Vice President for Advancement, said. "The adjoining PAAC will feature countless incredible student performances for decades to come."

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The University began raising funds for the PAAC back in 2017, with a $6.3 million lead in initial gifts and pledges. Over 220 donors participated in the campaign, with the majority being UA alumni and patrons of the arts.

UA Theatre and Dance made the announcement Thursday morning on its social media that the program had reached its fundraising goal, promising the facility would hold "world-class" spaces and equipment.

Sarah Barry, Department Chair for Theatre and Dance elaborated on some of the things students could expect to see in the new facilities. The PAAC will feature 4 performance spaces -- two for dance and two for theatre, with seating totaling upwards of 1200 guests. Classroom spaces in Bryce will be dedicated to the Department including a piano lab, vocal warmup rooms, projection and lighting lab, a recording studio, as well as several large acting and dance studio spaces.

"We are very excited to move into this facility," said Barry. "As it will enhance our ability to collaborate within the department, broaden our capability to connect to the community, allow for more efficient scheduling of classes, increase our production capabilities, and help us recruit the best students."

Restorations on Bryce Main are already underway, and work on the PAAC is set for Spring 2022. Pierce says the theatre and dance department expects to be fully moved into the new facility by the end of 2024.