Sandy Springs’ new performing arts center has hired an operations director from the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome as it builds an opening year staff of 13 full-time and 12 part-time positions.

Michael Enoch, general manager of the 1,100-seat theater and related event spaces at the City Springs project set to open next summer on Roswell Road, announced the hire at a May 2 City Council preliminary budget hearing. Enoch – currently the performing arts center’s only employee – also indicated he is close to hiring an unnamed local arts figure for another position.

Michael Enoch.

Enoch was hired with city approval and oversight, but he is actually employed by Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, an event facility management firm subcontracted by Sandy Springs. Enoch said Spectra’s hiring strategy at City Springs will be a mix of nationwide searches and tapping locals experienced in the metro Atlanta arts scene.

He said the new operations director, effective June 1, is Jack Ligon, who is relocating from a similar position at the 10,000-seat Sun Dome in Tampa.

Ligon also works for Spectra. According to Florida media reports on May 1 — the day before the City Council meeting — USF announced that it was switching the Sun Dome’s management from Spectra to a different company that also runs Tampa’s Amalie Arena. A main attraction for the management change reportedly was the Amalie Arena’s acclaimed event-booker, Kevin Preast, who will now book the Sun Dome as well. In a metro area switcheroo, Preast moved to Tampa last year from a similar position at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

An interior design concept illustration for the theater in the performing arts center in the City Springs project.

Meanwhile, Enoch is prepping City Springs on the artistic side, too. The city has ambitions of attracting first-rate organizations, such as the Woodruff Arts Center, to produce performances there. Enoch said that, since he started work Feb. 1, he has attended performances everywhere from the Alliance Theatre to the Georgia Ballet to the local Act3 Playhouse to get a sense of local companies and their needs.

He also said he is meeting with arts grants organizations as he seeks to create educational programming and a foundation to subsidize some arts programs, both of which are priorities set by the mayor and City Council.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.