The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts opened on September 9, 1999. The Center was built with a $52.7 million campaign that was raised with state, city, corporate, foundation, and individual funding. It has shown the local and regional communities many events and exhibits ever since.
The Whitaker Center combines all elements of arts and science and offers a 700 seat performance theater, a 200 seat black box theater, a 200 seat IMAX® theater, a 22,000 square foot, three story interactive science center, classrooms, a gift store, meeting rooms, and a Starbucks® cafe. There are 8 resident companies who perform in the facility, along with more than 100 concerts presented by the Whitaker Center annually.
The concept of building a unique center in downtown Harrisburg certainly was not new, as the city had an historic theater, the Grand Opera House, built in 1873. The vision and campaign actually began in 1989, however the task of raising millions was tremendous. The Metro Arts organization emerged with a “Cultural Plan for the Capital Region” and began to form a leadership team for the project. In 1996 the prior building was razed and September 1997 was the official launch ceremony for the 130,000 square foot center. In the winter of 1998, Stephen Krempasky, Vice President of Theater Operations, attended an INTIX conference in Cleveland, OH, in search of a ticketing system for the center. His challenge was to locate a system that could meet the global needs of the organization with a strong reporting and financial component to manage their growing operation. After viewing demonstrations of many ticketing software companies exhibiting at the conference, the Center decided that Choice Ticketing Systems addressed the issues required and provided a well established and friendly customer support operation to ensure that the product needs would be addressed on a long-term basis.
The Choice Ticketing solution was installed in June, 1999. The Ticket Office initially operated in a remote location for a full year prior to the completion of the new facility. Today, the Whitaker Center Ticket Office operates the Choice Ticketing solution in the Center and serves as a community box office for many venues in the Harrisburg area. In August of 2005, the Center implemented Choice’s Internet Ticketing module, Choice.Net, which resulted in a major increase in event sales and profits, and has helped fulfill the mission of the Center by providing cutting edge technology to the region.
“Choice has played a significant role in helping us increase sales and financial efficiencies for our in-house and our resident companies.”