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Plans advance for Pasco performing arts center at Cypress Creek Middle-High

The center has been in the works since 2014.
The performing arts center is slated to rise in the southeast corner of the Cypress Creek Middle-High campus. [Pasco County school district]
The performing arts center is slated to rise in the southeast corner of the Cypress Creek Middle-High campus. [Pasco County school district]
Published Jun. 28, 2018

More than four years after lawmakers first set aside money for the concept, Pasco-Hernando State College officials are getting closer to building a performing arts center in the growing Wesley Chapel area of Pasco County.

They're relying on the Pasco County school district to make the center a reality.

The Pasco County School Board is poised to approve an agreement with the college that would allow PHSC — which does not have sufficient property to house the facility — to place the center on the Cypress Creek Middle-High campus on Old Pasco Road.

The district would deed 5.85 acres on the campus' southeast corner to the college, which would construct and own the center and adjacent parking. The two agencies would share use of the center, which would be used for instructional performing arts programs.

The general public might also use the site, when it is not occupied by the schools.

Discussions of placing the center, which the state funded with $15.5 million while Will Weatherford served as House speaker, at the Cypress Creek location have been in the works since 2016.

The Porter family, developers of Wiregrass Ranch, had supported the center and hoped to see it rise at the college's Wiregrass Ranch campus, or in the vicinity as a draw for new residents.

They backed away from the project when it shifted focus, and criticized school and college leaders for the change. With limited options and the state watching to see if the money would be spent as intended, though, college and district officials embraced the idea of the joint project, and have been slowly working through details ever since.

The agreement is scheduled for a School Board vote on Tuesday.