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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Performing arts center for Pasco schools, college slides into state budget

Sandwiched among millions of dollars worth of special projects in the state budget appeared a $10 million line item for a performing arts education center and convention facility in Wesley Chapel.

The item is connected to Pasco-Hernando State College. But a document describing the project, which carries a total price tag of $60 million, indicates that the Pasco school district and county government also will participate.

The concept is to expand educational performing arts opportunities in the county, while also increasing regional tourism with conventions and performances. County commissioners also would use the space to hold government meetings. High school graduations also are a possibility.

All three entities would jointly own the facility. Funding would come from state and local construction funds, such as PECO and property taxes. The agencies might also seek private contributions to support the project.

County officials worked with key lawmakers, including House Speaker Will Weatherford, whose district includes the project, for which a specific site has not been chosen. The item still must survive the governor's veto pen. After that, the governments would need to work out many details to make it all work.

"We're just optimistic that it will get approved," Pasco assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said. 

[Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2014 9:47am]


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