Kennedy Center Ups Expansion Goal to $175 Million

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Three planned pavilions, shown, will be south of the main building of the Kennedy Center. | Courtesy the Kennedy Center

Having surpassed its original fundraising goal of $125 million by nearly $10 million, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has set a new goal of $175 million to fund its campus expansion. The project is the first new construction since the 1971 opening of the massive, multi-genre center, designed by Edward Durell Stone.

With the expansion plans approved by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, demolition is set to begin this month. The new facilities are expected to open in the fall of 2018.

No federal monies will go toward the project. Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein, co-chair of the “Building the Future” campaign with treasurer Michael F. Neidorff, made a $50-million lead gift in 2013 and Boeing later gave $20 million. The center recently announced additional gifts, including $10-million donations from Jacqueline Badger Mars and Stephen and Christine Schwarzman.

With the planned floating pavilion relocated to dry land and the enhancement of a pedestrian bridge connecting the project to the Rock Creek Park Trail, the estimated design and construction costs have gone from $100 million to about $120 million. The three new pavilions, with high ceilings and river views, will contain flexible, intimate spaces filled with natural light. There will also be an outdoor wall for simulcasting performances.

The remainder of the budget will go toward exhibits in the new public spaces and technology and systems upgrades to the entire campus, meant to support a new level of engagement and “create a more inspiring dialogue between patrons and artists,” according to a press release.

The architects for the expansion are Steven Holl and Chris McVoy of Steven Holl Associates in New York, in partnership with BNIM Architects of Kansas City.

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