Grand opening performance held at Pittsburg State University's B - KOAM TV 7

Grand opening performance held at Pittsburg State University's Bicknell Family Center for the Arts

Hundreds turned out tonight for the grand opening performance at Pittsburg State University's Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

For many, it was their first look inside the new $33 million facility.

Walking through the doors, many describe an elite, first class feel.

"It's beautiful, it really is," said Dylan Thompson, performer. "The architecture, everything is beautiful. They have great artwork around."

An elegant atmosphere, performers say, transfers to the stage, optimizing their performance to meet the high quality of the new venue.

"I feel like this room enables me to play to my best potential all the time," said Justin Crossman, performer.

Gene Bicknell, whose family the center is named after, produced the grand opening performance entitled 'A Tribute to America and the Arts', which incorporated performances from Pitt State choir and theater members, and the SEK Symphony.

"My part in this show is that I will contribute some of my favorite songs, some songs that I've written and also the opportunity to do a little comedy," Bicknell said.

One line of lyrics performed in the show describes Bicknell's feelings on how the center has turned out.

"We've had this dream, and now it's a sight," he said.

Many say the center will not only benefit the university for years to come, but also the entire Pittsburg community.

"I think the whole tri-state community will enjoy this," said Sam Prausen, spectator.

"We think this building really has potential to make a huge difference in the whole region," said Dr. Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University. "We see it as transformational. We're having Laura Bush here in a few weeks. We have STOMP coming. We've got our own musicians and theater productions that we'll be doing that are just first class."

In addition to the 1,100-seat performance hall, the center also has a 250-seat theater, a 3,500 square-foot art gallery, as well as other state-of-the-art amenities.
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