JANUARY 21, 2009

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Rose State College Communications Center/Performing Arts Theater Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

Photo of Rose State College's Communication Center/Performing Arts Theater.
Rose State College's Communication Center/Performing Arts Theater provides opportunities to link education, the arts and the professional world..

Rose State College is currently observing the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Rose State College Communications Center/Performing Arts Theater. The completion of the Communications Center provided Eastern Oklahoma County with wonderful new opportunities for linkages between education, the arts and the professional world. Subsequent to the grand opening on March 4, 1998, the college partnered with the Civic Center Music Hall to assist with bringing top name entertainers, theater and musical events to the community.

In the early years, during the MAPS projects, the Communications Center was home to the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. This helped introduce the facility to all of the Metro area. Big name entertainers have also graced the stage, many as part of the Rose State Live series sponsored by the college. Some of the entertainers have included The Temptations, Buck Owens, Roy Clark, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Frankie Avalon, Hal Hobrook in his awarding winning performance as Mark Twain, comedian Bill Cosby, entertainer Willie Nelson, and singer/actress Shirley Jones, just to name a few.

The community has used the center for various events such as beauty pageants, science fairs, graduations, inaugurations, political debates, musical theater, dance recitals, band concerts, seminars, career fairs, dinners, award presentations, dramatic plays, and art exhibits. Vice President Dick Cheney even paid a visit. Rose State College has of course hosted many of its own events in the theater as well, including Global Oklahoma, the Miss Rose State College/Miss Black Rose State College pageants, and its recent theatrical production of Big River. It also hosts the annual Oklahoma Student Invention Exposition which brings together inspiring young inventors from around the state.

The building of the Communications Center provided Rose State with more than performer venues however. It also made possible an educational facility where humanity students would have the availability of new classrooms, practice rooms, learning centers and laboratories. For students interested in music, journalism, theater, and art this was a dream come true.

The journey from dream to reality for Rose State College’s Communications Center was a vision of former college president Larry Nutter. And with the help of the citizens of Oklahoma the state capital bond issue of 1992 passed and the portion of the bond proceeds allocated to the college provided most of the funds needed to launch the planning efforts for the 80,000 square foot instructional and performance theater. However, lacking sufficient funds to construct a building that matched the community’s needs, the college asked the citizens of the Rose State College Technical Area Educational District to pass an additional local bond issue to provide the required funding. The voters of Eastern Oklahoma County overwhelmingly supported the needs of the college, making the entire project possible.

The Communications Center’s magnificent lobby and sweeping front interior now provides a large gathering and intermission area for students and guests and a site for special meetings and banquets for groups of up to 350 people. The center of the facility contains the 1,400 seats Performing Arts Theater. The exterior of the building features a 336 seat amphitheater designed to host various outdoor events and performances.

Today the Rose State College Communications Center and Performing Arts Theater stands as a tribute to the hardworking Mid-Del community and the vision Rose State College and Eastern Oklahoma County made into reality. Rose State College invites everyone to watch for great new events for many more years to come.