Seaside Music Theater merger dead; theater closing

According to the News-Journal, Daytona State College has given up on taking over the theater. The Seaside Music Theater is part of the News-Journal Center for which a college acquisition was in the works.

Lester Malizia had this to say:

“I realize the economic situation is horrible around the country, but good God, why turn your back on something that was so positive, so good for the community and was doing such good work?”

He’s been the art director at the theater for 20 years. I haven’t been to the theater, and I see their website is a couple months out of date, but apparently they had a whole bunch of summer performances scheduled, which were canceled due to their insolvency these past six months. And they owe thousands of dollars to ticket-holders for plays that were never shown. They’re selling off computers and costumes just to refund what they owe. It was a quarter-million dollars as of July, but no one would give more up-to-date figures.

“SMT had been struggling financially since a lawsuit by Cox Enterprises, which owns 47.5 percent of The News-Journal, forced the Davidson family and News-Journal Corp. to sever ties with the theater.”

I don’t think the theater ever provided enough value to the local community to justify its operating costs. The News-Journal was taking a loss on it before, and without their help, the theater would obviously fail. It’s a shame, but this will make way for newer, better theaters.

Are you against the News-Journal Center Acquisition?

I was reading some of the comments on Daytona State College’s buy-out of the News-Journal Center. These ones were the most biting:

If you are sick and tired of this topic and want to voice objection to the Daytona State take over of the N-J Center, contact your State Representative and State Senator to block Florida legislative approval. With the cut backs in state funding for public safety and education, the $700,000 of state funding can possibly be blocked. Daytona State does not need to assume responsibility for this project. They already have a fine facility. Show me another community college with a theatre the size of the N-J Center. If Daytona State wants to spend tax dollars, it would be better spent on campus in student related matters.

Sharples just doesnt want to be outdone by Bethune Cookman. His ego is ridiculous. The college could use that money in other areas of the college.

Let me get this straight. Tippen Davidson used company money to support this money losing endeavor, of which he only controlled 51% so his minority partner’s involuntarily paid for 49% of his generosity. And of the 51% that he did control I am sure he used his charitable donation tax deductions to reduce his tax bill thereby allowing tax payers to help foot the bill. Now a judge says the News Journal can’t do this anymore SOOOO the thearter decides to dump the whole thing on the nit wits that run Daytona Beach College and allow the state to foot the bill for this money pit and they gets to keep his company name on the building!! WHAT DEAL or BOONDOOGLE

I’ve been to the college’s theater at building 220 at the Daytona campus. It’s beautiful. Hundreds of seats, great acoustics, lighting, and layout. Does a “community college” need a huge theater? I agree with the first comment, in that I haven’t heard of any others with a theater as grandiose as the News-Journal’s.

We know Sharples wants to shed the community-college roots. All the press releases brag that the school is getting bigger, expanding, growing, becoming ever larger and more bureaucratic. Does that really benefit the students? Does moving the theater three miles from the campus benefit the students?

Sometimes I wonder. Leave me a comment and tell me: are you for the News-Journal Center acquisition, or the college’s continued expansion in general? Why or why not? There are plenty of good reasons from either side, but we’ll get a much better general opinion from blog comments than press releases.

Daytona Beach City Commission to Vote 2008 Sept. 3 on News-Journal Center Acquisition

An update on the News-Journal situation: it’s getting closer. Daytona State’s board of trustees has said yes to leasing the News-Journal theater center from the Lively Arts Center for one year.

The Lively Arts Center is giving $800,000 to the college, but I suppose the college will pay even more back. However, the state has to match this gift, so the college will get 1.6 million dollars. That should help a little.

The transfer is in fact mandated by a judge, because the Seaside Music Theater isn’t paying for the center anymore. The News-Journal won’t either, and the land is the city’s, so a profitable tenant must be found. Enter Daytona State College.

Kent Sharples (DSC president) says the state legislature needs to vote too, because they’ll be paying $700,000 per year toward the operating costs if the transfer goes through.

Clay Henderson of the Lively Arts Center’s board of directors said something interesting:

“We all are trying to keep everything going in the same way Tippen Davidson envisioned. Because that could not happen, this is the best way.”

Tippen Davidson was the News-Journal president till his death in 2007 January. He was the “driving force” behind the News-Journal Center, says the News-Journal. Apparently, he’d be rolling in his grave now, because Daytona State’s acquisition of his center is repugnant to his beautiful vision.

Either way, I’m excited that the college’s classes resume tomorrow at 8 A.M. My schedule: Calculus I 8-9 A.M., Speech 9-10, Physics I 10-11, and Biology 11-12. I wish my bag had wheels. The books are so heavy.

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 thenews-journalcenteratdaytonastate.com. 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.