Daytona State to Buy News-Journal Center, Replacing Theater

Daytona Beach News-Journal Center

I just read read that Daytona State College is buying the Daytona Beach News-Journal Center.

Have you seen the newspaper’s huge building at 221 North Beach Street, near International Speedway Boulevard, pictured above? The college is buying that. The Foundation, the philanthropic wing of Daytona State, is spending $2.6 million to pay off the terrible debt the Journal owes.

Even now, the building is not for the newspaper’s production; it’s a theater and “cultural community center.” The DSC foundation president, William Olivari, made this statement to the press:

With the college getting ready for a renovation of its own arts center, we thought this would be a great addition, since it’s (the News Journal Center) a new building, and we can use the land under the (college’s) center for new classrooms rather than spend millions in renovating.”

So they’re going to convert the Theater Center to classroom space on the campus, and then use the News-Journal building as the college theater.

My concern is the travel distance. Right now, the theater is conveniently at the Daytona Beach campus. How far away is the News-Journal Center? I wanted to know, so I looked it up on MapQuest. It’s 2.92 miles. Moving something as essential as the theater miles off-campus doesn’t seem right to me.

Kent Sharples has been talking to the Daytona Beach commissioners this week to get them to transfer the land the building rests on to the college. The land is leased from the state of Florida to the city of Daytona Beach to the News-Journal, so there are many layers of bureaucracy. The red tape will take a while to cut through. Daytona Beach appears to be paying a token sum of $1 per year for the land, so the college may not be paying a lot for the acquisition. The News-Journal quotes the transfer as a “gift agreement.” I’m sure it won’t cost 2.6 million dollars to the college, though. This will find some way to cost at least $5M.

It’s going to be more work for DSC to own the News-Journal center outright; it has to appear before the state legislature in March of 2009. So the plan is to lease it in the interim. Eventually, the name will be changed to “The News-Journal Center at Daytona State College” if possible. The new website will be Nah, just kidding about the last part. 😎

Still, I wonder how this will affect the college. This positions the theater as an entirely separate branch of the college, by placing such distance between them, and will impede non-theater students who casually visit. Still, the new building is much more impressive, so the college will be able to put on more grandiose and culturally enriching performances. I’ll be tracking the progress of the transfer over the next weeks and months.

3 thoughts on “Daytona State to Buy News-Journal Center, Replacing Theater

  1. As a person who has been involved with the NJC may I say that having the college takeover is far better fiscally than allowing this facility to close. Because Seaside refused to pay their rental fees on a monthly basis they almost destroyed the NJC. This takeover will also mean that the new director will be competent, professional, and intelligent which is not the case at the present time. Therein lies the other reason for the difficulties at the NJC…a totally incompetent Executive Director who received her position due to her father’s influence not because she is capable. She is still presently pulling this facility down and hopefully soon the center will be salvaged before she continues damaging it.
    Dr. Sharples has great plans for this facility and the patrons of this community along with the DSC students will benefit from having access to this kind of a facility. The format will be similiar to the King Center in Melbourne which is college connected.

    • That sounds quite good. I must admit I’m not in the know on this; I haven’t been to the center and have only read news reports, but if that’s the case then I support the buy-out. I’ll have to get over there for the grand opening with Daytona State backing the theater.

      • Additional facts:
        The News Journal newspaper has put a stop on all articles relating to SMT and the Executive Director, therefore, these facts are not known and will not be publicized…However, these are facts know by the college, Daytona Beach commission, Lively Arts Board etc.
        The newspaper does not believe in freedom of speech.

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