The Volusia County Council unanimously approved the award of almost $2.6 million in ECHO grants during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, and among the five grant recipients is the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, which will receive $600,000 from the voter-approved program.
Volusia's ECHO program utilizes property tax levy to help fund environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational projects. The PAC project will include a renovation of its lobby, concessions, the addition of a gallery and modifications to the building's exterior and entrance. The city of Ormond Beach is providing $810,384 in match dollars.
The renovation project has been in the works since 2019, and the Friends of the PAC, a nonprofit, have been busy hosting fundraising events and acquiring additional grants since then, including three from the Daytona Beach Racing and Recreational Facilities District since July 2020, totaling $423,250.
"It's very exciting," PAC Supervisor Marc Schwartz said. "I'm super happy that all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes to get to this point has been rewarded with us getting the ECHO grant. The Performing Arts Center means a great deal to our community, as has been shown by the tremendous amount of support that we got from this project."
The PAC building was built in 1982 and used to house a church. The city purchased it in 1988 and opened it as the PAC in 1991, and since then, no major updates have been conducted.
Per a county press release, the updates to the PAC will include new floors, updated window and wall coverings in the lobby, concession and hallways. There will be a new donor wall and wire hanging system for the art gallery space, and the lobby stairways and bathrooms will be updated for ADA accessibility.
The exterior changes will include the replacement of the existing rock facade with a smooth texture finish to match the rest of the building, said Schwartz. A shade structure will also be added by the front entrance.
What are the next steps? Schwartz said the city will be having a pre-construction meeting with its contractor to put together a contract for future review by the City Commission. Upon the commissioner's approval, then construction will begin, and it is expected to be take about one year.
The auditorium will be closed for a period of time during construction, said Schwartz, but he assured that once it reopens, the renovated facility will be worth the wait. He anticipates that there will be a "very busy schedule" of performances and events once the PAC is renovated, partly due to being closed for a period of time, but also because he believes the community will expect a higher frequency of shows.
"We're absolutely thrilled that we're at that point now where it's more than a dream," Schwartz said. "It's actually going to happen."
Four other ECHO grants were approved by the council:
- $75,000 for improvements to Bill Keller Park in DeBary
- $1.5 million for the 1.3-mile Alabama Greenway trail extension in DeLand
- $150,000 for improvements to Jackson Lane Memorial Park in DeLand
- $243,750 for the renovation of Magnolia Park in South Daytona