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    Orpheum education centre breaks ground

    The Crump Firm and The Orpheum
    Rendering of the Orpheum Centre for the Performing Arts and Education

    In about 16 months, the Orpheum Centre for the Performing Arts and Education will be completed and open to an estimated 70,000 kids in the area. 
    Ground was broken on the $15 million facility earlier today, a direct contrast to 34 years ago when the Orpheum Theatre was on the verge of shutting down. 
    “They were going to tear down the Orpheum and build a parking lot,” Pat Halloran, president of the Orpheum said. “Now we’re taking a parking lot and making a center.” 
    The center, which was designed by The Crump Firm and being built by Grinder Taber & Grinder Inc., will include the 19 different educational programs the Orpheum currently offers students, as well as six new ones, including sound and film editing. 
    During the ground breaking, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell praised Halloran and the Orpheum as “the anchor” of Downtown Memphis. 
    However, Halloran made clear that the fundraising process for the building is still underway. More than $10 million of the $15 million for the project has been raised. Of the $10 million, the Orpheum’s board members donated $2 million. 
    And Halloran was still in fundraising mode. 
    “If everybody in this room gave us $47,000 we’d be there,” he said. “And I’d buy the drinks.”
    Michael Sheffield covers bioscience and biotechnology; manufacturing; tourism and hospitality; and sports business. Contact him at msheffield@bizjournals.com.