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WCU board approves beer, wine sales for Bardo Arts Center

CULLOWHEE – Visitors to the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University soon will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or mug of beer along with the venue’s arts and entertainment offerings.

The WCU Board of Trustees, as part of its quarterly meeting Friday, March 1, approved an amendment to the campus alcohol policy allowing the sale of beer and wine for selected events in the Bardo Arts Center.

The new policy is made possible by the approval of countywide alcohol sales by the voters of Jackson County in a referendum last spring. The trustees had previously approved a similar amendment in 2006 to allow sale of beer and wine in the arts building, but Jackson County’s designation as a “dry county” rendered moot the university policy change.

The campus policy change is based on an amendment made in 2005 to state alcoholic beverage laws by the N.C. General Assembly that allows constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina system to sell beer and wine at performing arts centers. The law specifically defines a performing arts center as a venue of 2,000 seats or fewer built or used primarily for performances in the arts – including music, theater, film, performance art and recitation.

Under the new policy approved by WCU’s board, the university’s food service contractor will be authorized to sell beer and wine at selected events in the Bardo Arts Center and will be required to adhere to all rules and regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. No food or drink is permitted in the performance hall.

Aramark, WCU’s food service partner, is in the process of obtaining appropriate ABC permits, said George Little, a member of WCU’s Board of Trustees and chair of the board’s administration, governance and trusteeship committee, which recommended the policy amendment.

The production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” in April is expected to be the first event in the Bardo Arts Center at which beer and wine will be sold, Little said.   (From Bill Studenc, Senior Director of News Services, Office of Public Relations, WCU)