New Cultural Center To Open This Summer Construction on the new "Tsukuba Capio" cultural center is nearing completion, and the grand facilities are scheduled to open partly on Aug. 1 and fully on Sept.1. Located across the bicycle path from Daiei, the new facilities will be a welcomed addition to the public facilities (such as Nova Hall and the Ars Hall/Library) already operating in downtown Tsukuba.
The total floor space is a whopping 9119 square meters and is divided into three main sections. The ground floor by itself covers almost 5000 m2 and consists of a large multipurpose arena that can seat up to 1690 people on moveable chairs. There are also balcony sections on either side of the arena totaling 1050 permanent seats, and thus a total of 2740 persons can be handled for a large event. This, of course, represents more than double what any other facility in the area can handle, and so that will mean much larger conventions and conferences can now be held in Tsukuba.
As a multipurpose facility, however, the main floor of the arena can also be used for various sporting and other activities. The 34 by 41 meter floor can be used for 2 volleyball courts, 2 basketball courts, 8 badminton courts, and 10 ping pong tables. There is also an 82 m2 "refresh room" (training room for aerobics, etc.), and a 20 m wide (6 m deep) retractable stage.
Also located on the first floor is a "small hall" designed for plays and concerts. While called a "small" hall, it is nevertheless rather large, with 382 seats plus spaces for wheel chairs. It has a 12 by 12 m "proscenium" style stage, and several music rooms. A 110 m2 rehearsal room together with a smaller 52 m2 one are located the third floor behind the stage, and several rooms are provided on the 4th and 5th floors above part of the "small hall" area for meeting rooms together with a play room for children.
Across a narrow plaza along the Daiei side of the hall is a long building consisting of a 32 seat coffee shop, a "Volunteer Corner" room (to serve as a coordinating center for various volunteer groups) and a "Club Office". Numerous other related facilities, such as a shower room, toilets, storage facilities for various equipment, etc. are located along the edge of the arena.
The total budget for this undertaking came to 5.965 billion yen. Operational costs, however, will at least be partly covered by usage fees, which vary according to time and purpose (whether money-making of community service, etc.). For example, use of a music room varies from 300 yen to 800 yen for a morning, afternoon or evening, while use of the concert hall ranges from 5100 yen for a weekday morning with no admission charge all the way up to 32,200 yen for a prime time evening where admission of 3000 yen or more is charged.
A similar fee structure is in place for the use of the arena, with fees for a youth basketball league or the like ranging from 1500 yen for a weekday morning (half that if only half of the arena is used) all the way up to 150,000 yen for an all-day convention for which admission is charged. Individuals can likewise make use of the arena when it is not reserved for groups. Fees are 100 yen for 2 hours for high school and under, and 200 yen for 2 hours for all others. It is expected that these user fees will offset at least 10% of the operating budget.
Like "Ars Hall" (with "ars" being Latin for "art"), "Capio" comes from the Latin word that is the linguistic ancestor of our English word "capsule". Since the building is a "big box" encapsulating a number of diverse facilities, this word was chosen for its name. Fortunately, "Capio" doesn't have the same unforseen problem as "Ars" did in having an English word sound-alike with a less than appealing meaning!
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