Athens State and Calhoun Community College open $12 million dollar Alabama Center for the Arts building

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DECATUR, Ala. - Calhoun Community College and Athens State University held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to officially open their new Alabama Center for the Arts building in Decatur.

"Today is a great day for us. It's been 8 years in the making. And we're delighted to be here. This is a tremendous facility," said Bob Glenn, President of Athens State University.

This 44,000 square foot building, now houses the performing arts programs for both schools.

"It's got practice rooms for our music students, it's also got a practice room for them to practice collectively, rather than just individually," said Dr. Jim Klabur, President of Calhoun Community College. "We've also got stage construction areas."

School leaders say it's a leap in the right direction for their drama program. "From what we were able to do in little bitty hall, to what we can do here, we can train people who can leave here and go anywhere in the world and be competitive," said Glenn.

"It's Christmas time, I feel like it's Christmas time," said Gramville Oldham, Choral Director.

Oldham says the just under $13 million facility will be a drastic change for students, with a brand new concert hall that competes with those of New York. "Not only are getting the quality music and quality instruction, but now they're in a facility that reflects the quality of what they're doing," said Oldham.

But phase two isn't the end of the college's relationship. Phase three is already being discussed.  "We're still talking about what phase three might look like and interestingly enough, I don't think it will be in the arts. I think it will be in the sciences," said Glenn.

Athens State University hopes to even have a music program of their own in the next few years so students could receive a 4 year degree from their institution.

Both Athens State and Calhoun Community College say this building wouldn't have been possible without their collaboration.