An Early Look at LeTourneau's Performing Arts Center - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/1/06-Longview

An Early Look at LeTourneau's Performing Arts Center

   It's a 20 million dollar facility that's been almost two years in the making. The S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center on the LeTourneau University campus in Longview will be a 7200 square foot building that seats 2000 people. It's a facility that could mean big things for the Longview community.

   When you first walk into LeTourneau's Belcher Center you are greeted by grandness and ceilings that reach over 60 feet tall.

  "This is going to be a wonderful facility," says Director Cynthia Hellen. 

   The center boasts three balconies that seat 2,011 people and a stage fit for any type of performance. 

     "The facility here, the stage and the rigging and every, all the technical aspects are state of the art and we can accommodate any kind of programming from the biggest Broadway production to a high school play," Hellen says.

    She hopes national and local companies will perform on the stage, including "Opera East Texas."

   "This is going to be a jewel that will bring people into a venue instead of just to an art form. I think we're excited as an opera company because we're not used to having an orchestra pit, a costume design area and all of the facilities that LeTourneau's going to offer now," says General Director of Opera East Texas.

     It's a facility the University hopes will put Longview on the map for performing arts.

     "People here in this area will be able to come here to see things that they would normally have to drive to Dallas or Shreveport to see," Hellen says.

    The Belcher Center is equivalent in size to the Cowan Center at UT-Tyler.  LeTourneau University will also use the facility as a chapel three times a week.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.

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