GMC going big with new Fine Arts Center


The skyline of downtown Milledgeville, if you can call it a skyline, is beginning to look a little different, as Georgia Military is moving forward with its ambitious new Fine Arts Center, dubbed the "NewDay USA Center for Leadership at Georgia Military College."

The metal skeleton of the new facility was erected in a relative hurry and already is visible from much of the southeastern part of downtown.

At some point later in the year, GMC hopes to debut the new facility that will change the physical landscape of downtown Milledgeville, as well as the the performing arts landscape of Baldwin and surrounding counties. The school last November broke ground on the project. New Day USA is a Virginia-based mortgage loan company for veterans, and a $2 million donation by the company helped secure the naming rights for GMC's new facility. Prior to teaming up with New Day, the working title of the project around campus was "the new fine arts center."

The centerpiece of the new 28,837-square-foot facility will be an 820-seat theater, which will roughly double the capacity of the Goldstein Center for the Performing Arts, which currently serves as the centerpiece for the fine arts program around GMC. The New Day USA Center will be four stories tall, at its highest point, and one of the tallest buildings in Milledgeville. Plans for the new facility also include classroom space, a dance studio, as well as a large lobby that would double as an arts studio, complete with "gallery quality lighting," the school previously stated.

The new venue is slated to include state-of-the-art acoustics, rigging systems and an orchestra pit, Fine Arts Director Mark Weaver said during an interview last year.

"We researched everything to make sure that we have a space that meets the requirements for larger touring groups, similar to the ones you see at (The Grand Opera House) Macon," he added. "This would not only meet those requirements, but exceed them."

GMC received the architectural plans for the new project back in January 2020, but administrators at that time were still trying to figure out how to secure funding. The original project cost was $9 million, which has since risen to $11 million.

The phrases "military school" and "performing arts" may not seem synonymous with each other, but GMC Prep has won multiple state championships in GHSA Class A in recent years in both the One Act Play competition, as well as the Literary performance competition. Very few high schools in Georgia, if any, have won more fine arts state championships than GMC in recent times.

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