Saratoga Springs, NY According to governor Andrew Cuomo, construction is underway on a $9.5 million renovation project at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, an arts and culture destination located in Saratoga Spa State Park, to improve visitor services and add four-season event space. The project is supported by $8 million in private funding from Live Nation and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The state is providing up to $1.5 million in grants from Empire State Development and State Parks, awarded through the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
“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 will provide needed renovations to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that will further cement it as a critical economic and cultural driver in the Capital Region.”
As part of this project, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will undergo a complete replacement and upgrade of the existing concessions and restroom facilities. Two new concessions buildings will replace the existing tent structures, which have lacked proper security, infrastructure and storage space. In the center of the main plaza a new open-air covered pavilion will further establish a more park-like aesthetic, while restoring the original sight lines from the Rte. 50 bridge to the Victoria Pool.
The main concession building will include a second-story, offering year-round event space to support and encourage expanded educational programming, audience development and community engagement activities. The exterior façade of the upper level will include a glass and aluminum storefront design, allowing guests to walk out onto a rooftop terrace facing the amphitheater. The enclosed portion of this building will provide climate-controlled space for events, and the lobby atrium leading to the second floor will feature the rich history of SPAC as well as space for local artwork.
The second building will further improve the guest experience by adding new restroom and concessions facilities, and creating more open, useable space which will help further improve guest movement throughout SPAC. The existing infrastructure systems and utilities will be improved to support the new buildings and surrounding public space. Upgraded pedestrian walkways will improve access between the amphitheater lawn and the main plaza and provide easier paths for travel throughout the venue.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center president and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said, “Aside from being an economic powerhouse in the region - with an estimated $100 million in annual economic impact - SPAC is a cultural powerhouse as well, bringing best-in-class artists and companies from across all genres. With these series of infrastructure upgrades thanks to Governor Cuomo and Live Nation, SPAC is positioned to be a vibrant international cultural destination for years to come.”
Live Nation Connecticut and Upstate New York Region president Jim Koplik said, “Live Nation has been able to bring some of the world’s greatest performers to SPAC for the past 19 years and in celebration of our 20th anniversary in 2020, we are proud to be able to contribute to such a transformative project that will enhance the guest experience at SPAC. Further, the positive impact from this project will be felt for many years to come and we’re thrilled to have future generations enjoy such an iconic and unique venue.”
The park improvements reflect governor Cuomo’s commitment to revitalizing the state park system as part of his NY Parks 2020 initiative. Earlier this year, State Parks completed a $1.75 million project to renew the SPAC amphitheater’s aging balcony ramps and lighting with an elegant and safe entryway. The new railing system’s contemporary aesthetic better integrates with the amphitheater facade which was upgraded in 2012.
Under NY Parks 2020, more than $18 million has been invested in Saratoga Spa State Park, including modernizing the Peerless Pool bathhouse, which consists of new facilities around the complex to improve the visitor experience - a one-mile paved accessible walking trail loop, a new disc golf course, a sensory pollinator garden and accessible, colorful and engaging playground. Other projects include opening the new Creekside Classroom environmental education facility, preserving the park’s historic campus buildings and adding new pavilions, trails and playgrounds.