Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

August 17, 2006

For Release: Immediate
Press Contact:
Wendy Gibson
Catherine Jimenez

State Parks Invests $2.1 Million For SPAC Improvements

Capital Projects to Continue Upgrades at Popular Amphitheater in Saratoga Springs

(ALBANY, NY, August 17, 2006 ...) New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Bernadette Castro today announced the commitment of $2.1 million for improvements to the renowned Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) facility in the National Historic Landmark Saratoga Spa State Park. The funds are in addition to the $2 million the State committed last year for upgrades that are underway at the popular entertainment venue in Saratoga Springs, New York.

State Parks Invests $2.1 Million For SPAC Improvements

"The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is a cultural landmark and incredible asset here in the region and for the arts community across the nation," said Commissioner Castro. "This latest investment highlights Governor Pataki's steadfast vision for enhancing the state park system and helps ensure that this unique treasure will continue to be an outstanding entertainment and fine arts performance venue for many seasons ahead.

"Together with the strong support from Senator Bruno and Assemblyman Tedisco, the successful SPAC management headed by President Marcia White, leadership by SPAC Board Chairman Bill Dake and board members, and the longtime dedication of Mary Lou Whitney, State Parks is pleased to be a partner in the exciting effort to improve this spectacular facility for performers while enriching the visitor experience for SPAC patrons."

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, "In summer throughout the Capital Region, the focus of the arts and entertainment world is on SPAC. Thousands of people come here every night to enjoy the greatest artists and performers in the world. It is great for tourism, culture and our economy. The state's continuing investment in SPAC is paying for capital improvements to make this wonderful facility even better for the audiences, as well as the performers."

SPAC is the summer home to the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra and hosts a number of large-scale Live Nation concerts. The $2.1 million funding announced today will support the installation of all new, more comfortable padded seating in the 5,000-seat amphitheater, replacement of canvas panels and rain screens, and painting of the interior.

"The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is a jewel for this region. Our identity is horse racing, but it's also the arts, culture, entertainment and the parks. This investment will strengthen an already tremendous economic and cultural asset for this community as we build toward the future," said Assembly Republican Leader James Tedisco.

Projects underway at the facility include the removal and replacement of the existing floor in the rehearsal room, the installation of new furnishings and design for the dressing rooms, renovations to the Hall of Springs and patron's entrance to SPAC including new curbing, pavement, accessibility ramps and landscaping, and replacement of the heating and air conditioning units backstage. Work already completed as part of the large-scale rehabilitation project include replacement of the amphitheater roof, rehabilitation of the pedestrian bridge across Geyser Creek, painting of the acoustical canopy, asbestos removal and improvements to the sanitary system backstage.

"Today's announcement underscores the fact that New York State's leadership recognizes and values SPAC's tremendous impact on the economy and quality of life in this region. I would like to thank Commissioner Castro, Senator Bruno and Governor Pataki for their vision, partnership and support and I look forward to the opportunity these renovations will provide to further enhance the unique SPAC experience," said SPAC President Marcia White.

In May 2005, Governor George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno announced $2 million for improvements at SPAC including replacement of the amphitheater roof, painting and repairs to the existing acoustical shell, upgrades to the aisle and house lighting and refurbishment of the rehearsal and dressing rooms.

Commissioner Castro also announced that State Parks will continue their cooperative partnership with the National Museum of Dance through a ten-year agreement at Saratoga Spa State Park beginning in January, 2007. The Museum is the only museum in the nation dedicated to American professional dance and houses an extensive collection of photographs, videos, artifacts, costumes, biographies and archives comprising a contemporary and retrospective examination of significant contributions to dance.

In addition to SPAC and the Museum of Dance, the 2,500-acre state park includes the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the historic Victoria Pool, the Peerless Pool complex, 2 golf courses, the restored Lincoln and Roosevelt Bathhouses, spouting mineral waters, multiple trails, pavilions and play areas. The park welcomes more than one million patrons each year. Over the last eleven years, the State has spent more than $12 million on capital improvements at Saratoga Spa State Park. The State provides SPAC use of its facilities on a rent-free basis under 100-year lease which originated in the 1960s.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 176 state parks and 35 state historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, please call (518) 474-0456 or visit the website at