Officials released must-see photos and are reacting to a dramatic $9.5 million transformation at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

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Jaw-Dropping $9.5 Million Transformation Complete At Saratoga Performing Arts Center

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the official opening of The Pines@SPAC, a $9.5 million renovation project at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a world-class arts and culture destination located in Saratoga Spa State Park, that improves visitor services and creates new four-season event space.

"For decades, the Saratoga Spa State Park has attracted visitors from across the state and around the world," Cuomo said. "This project is another major step forward in the renewal of this great park and provides needed renovations to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that will further cement it as a critical economic and cultural driver in the Capital Region."

New York State provided $1.5 million in grants from Empire State Development and State Parks, awarded through the Governor's Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The funding was secured in 2019 and demolition began in October of the same year, with the new facility planned to welcome audiences in June 2020. Additional support was provided by Live Nation.

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"Saratoga Spa State Park draws tourists and visitors from across the globe to experience everything the Park has to offer -- from world-class arts and culture venues and performances to outdoor recreation and family fun," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said.

The project restored park-like aesthetics to the grounds and opened up original site lines from the Route 50 Gate to the Victoria Pool. It provides brand new and vastly expanded restrooms and concessions areas - and new measures for safety and security. In addition, it provides new spaces for gathering outside of the amphitheater: The Julie Bonacio Family Pavilion; The Pines Terrace; and the Nancy Di Cresce Education Room at The Pines, SPAC's first year-round space for education and community outreach.

"Nowhere is SPAC's transformation more dramatically evident than in the presence of our new Pines@SPAC facility. The project began with the intent to replace aging concessions and bathroom facilities - but quickly expanded its scope to align with our new mission," Saratoga Performing Arts Center President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said.

The main concession building includes a second-story, offering year-round event space with the Nancy DiCresce Education Room to support and encourage expanded educational programming, audience development and community engagement activities. The exterior facade of the upper level includes a glass and aluminum storefront design, allowing guests to walk out onto a rooftop terrace facing the amphitheater. The enclosed portion of this building provides climate-controlled space for events, and the lobby atrium leading to the second floor features the rich history of SPAC as well as space for revolving displays of local artwork. Currently on display is an exhibition from the Tang Teaching Museum.

"Attending concerts at SPAC is an essential part of summers in upstate New York," Live Nation Regional President Jimmy Koplik said. "With these tremendous enhancements to the customer experience, we look forward to many more great nights of live music under the stars at SPAC."

The second building added new restroom and concessions facilities, and created more open, useable space to improve guest movement throughout SPAC. Infrastructure systems and utilities were modernized to support the new buildings and surrounding public space. Upgraded pedestrian walkways improve access between the amphitheater lawn and the main plaza and provide easier paths for travel throughout the venue.

"For 50 years, Saratoga Performing Arts Center has been the go-to place for arts and culture, attracting visitors from around the globe for its world-class performances. We look forward to an even more exciting and welcoming place to enjoy the great range of performances for many more audiences to come," Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said.

In the center of the main plaza a new open-air covered pavilion enhanced the park aesthetic, while restoring the original sight lines from the Route 50 bridge to the Victoria Pool.

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