Walton Arts Center narrows potential expansion sites to 15

The Walton Arts Center narrowed the list of potential sites for expansion from 25 to 15 on Wednesday.

Senior staff made the recommendation to the facilities committee to narrow the field based on the sites that they felt best met the center’s site selection criteria, and the committee voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.

Three sites in Fayetteville made the cut, along with one potential site in Springdale near Arvest Ballpark, six potential sites in Rogers, and five in Bentonville.

The remaining sites will continue to be evaluated by WAC staff and the facilities committee based on the criteria that the committee outlined back in February, but CEO Peter Lane said that the staff will narrow the focus of what they are looking at going forward.

“If you look at the remaining 15 (proposals), they all meet some of the basic high priorities,” Lane said.

Funding, political will, and the ability for the WAC to maintain regional performing arts leadership will become more important factors in the evaluation process of the final 15 proposals.

The challenge the WAC currently faces is continuing to gather information about the sites, and trying to differentiate between what aspects of the remaining proposals were real, and what aspects were “hopeful.”

“Some of these sites are so raw in their development,” said board chairman Jerry Vest. “We need to know more about the vision, and the viability of the vision in some of these developments.”

Another question that came up is whether or not the municipalities will offer the same support to sites in their respective cities that they will offer with their official proposals.

“We need to find out if these cities will support the different locations,” said committee member Judy Schwab. “It would be helpful to know if Fayetteville’s dollars translate to other Fayetteville sites.”

“That’s a lot of information that still has to be gathered,” committee member Hershey Garner added.

Lane said that staff will continue to gather information on the remaining proposals, and reluctantly promised a progress report for the end of October, with the ultimate goal of narrowing the sites to two final contenders by the end of 2010.

The Final 15


  • City of Fayetteville / University of Arkansas Joint Proposal (Dickson St.)
  • Paula Marinoni Proposal (Wedington)
  • James Irwin Proposal (Steele Crossing)


  • Springdale Chamber of Commerce Proposal (Arvest Ballpark)


  • C Lovett/R Pennington Proposal (Champions Drive)
  • Greg Nabholz Proposal (New Hope / Bellview Road)
  • Hunter Haynes Proposal (Promenade Blvd)
  • JT Rose/Lydia Waldrop Proposal (45th and Walnut)
  • Richard Alderman/NWA Sport, Entertainment and Leisure Development Proposal (Pinnacle Hills)
  • Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce


  • Alan Cole / Colliers International (Central Ave)
  • Bentonville Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce
  • Joe Tarvin/Eagleswings Investments (C St./22nd St.)
  • Sarah O. Brien / Keystone Ventures (I540/future J-Street exit)

View the full proposals at waltonartscenter.org