CARTHAGE, Mo. — The spotlight could soon shine center stage in Carthage, if a proposed new Performing Arts Center gets the green light.

The vision stems from a “Carthage 2020” community meeting held about ten years ago — and a “Carthage 2020 and Beyond” meeting about two years ago. Two main projects were on the list — in addition to the technical center — which is now complete. And, a new Performing Arts Center.

If voters approve the measure, it could free up space for more classrooms.
It would also replace the current center built back in 1987 — which is aging and simply running out of space.

“First we want to use it for instruction. We’re adding our band, choir, and drama into the facility, which will actually open up classrooms at the high school. But, also for our community. Right now, we use this auditorium as the main one in Carthage. It’s full. Many people cannot use it anymore because it’s just not a big enough venue,” said Carthage R-9 Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Baker.

The proposed new center specs include an orchestra pit, and fly system for backdrops. More than 1,200 seats compared to the 800 seats at the current facility, a balcony, and an updated light and sound system.

The cost is around 18-20 million dollars and will not cause a tax increase. Voters would need to approve extending current bonds already in place for a couple more years. The school board still needs to approve the ballot language, and that will happen in January. If that is approved, it is still unknown which election will have the issue on the ballot.