The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a series of agreements last month for the Chesterfield Center for the Arts (CCAF), which will allow...

The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors approved a series of agreements last month for the Chesterfield Center for the Arts (CCAF), which will allow both the final phase of the design and construction of the approximately 18,500-square-foot facility to begin.

The project is being developed in conjunction with the aid of public supporters that are providing funds for both construction and operating costs. The center is one of the largest public/private partnerships in terms of private donations undertaken in the county. About $1.1 million in private donations and pledges have been raised by the CCAF. The foundation will also provide funding for on-going operating costs once the facility is open.

The foundation will operate the center under a long-term lease. The center is envisioned to have a 350-seat performing arts theatre, a 75-seat multi-purpose room with a patio, a lobby that also will serve as an exhibit hall, classrooms and additional support facilities.

“This is a huge step.” Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation Chair Hugh A. Cline said of the Board’s recent approval. “Getting all the mechanics worked out between the foundation, the Economic Development Authority and the county took a great deal of time and effort by a lot of people. I want to thank the county, both elected officials and staff, for all their hard work in getting this accomplished. Completing this step now gives us the opportunity to get back to work and finish up our fundraising”.

Amanda King, CCAF vice chair, added “This action by the Board of Supervisors will help with our fundraising since several large potential donors have been waiting for the final approval process to be completed before making their commitments.”

“We still need to raise about $800,000 to be fully funded, not just for the construction costs, but also to create a sound operating budget going forward,” Cline said. “The challenge continues because I often hear, ‘Building it is the easy part; operating it successfully is the hard part.’”

The design work will soon resume, and construction of the $8.2 million project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017. The facility will be located at the Chester Village Green, next to the existing Chester Library.