- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A $24 million music building is expected to be the centerpiece for an arts and cultural hub in northeast Michigan.

Interlochen Center for the Arts president Jeffrey Kimpton said music is the center’s largest discipline. But students for years have practiced in several, disjointed areas of the campus near Traverse City.

The 62,000-square-foot building will include 25 teaching studios, 10 practice studios and two rehearsal halls. Each classroom can virtually connect musicians globally to broaden the student learning experience.

The facility will also link the center’s Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building and its Corson Auditorium.

“It’s the largest classroom building for one of our arts or academic areas,” Kimpton said. “We’ve been working toward a centralized home for about 50 years … This is just a great opportunity to bring everyone together.”

Officials have already raised over $106 million since July 2016 to cover the building as only part of the school’s many upgrades. Interlochen also wants to encourage recruitment and retention amid a competitive market.

“Interlochen draws open the curtain to the world’s stage for Traverse City and our surrounding communities,” Interlochen Trustee Casey Cowell said. “It has tremendous impact culturally and economically.”

The educational institution of Interlochen Arts Academy was originally founded in 1928 as the National Music Camp and is located on the center’s 1,200-acre campus.

Interlochen music director Kedrik Merwin said the building is “really a facility that will bring us together.”

Kimpton said the facility will likely be completed by the end of 2018 or early 2019.

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