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.