By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Ballet today received a big contribution toward its planned construction of a new headquarters and a ballet school on North Broad Street.

Standing on a vacant lot at the rear of Broad and Wood Streets, a half-block from the iconic Inquirer/Daily News tower, representatives from the ballet accepted a check for $2.5 million from Pennsylvania state senator Lawrence Farnese and state representative Dwight Evans.

Michael Scolamiero, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s executive director, says the state funding — which is matched dollar-for-dollar from locally raised funds — will pay for demolition of buildings on the site, where Brinks once had armored car garages, and construction of new studios and the ballet school (see previous story).

“This went a long way toward our having the ability to complete the first phase,” Scolamiero said today.  “The entire project is in the neighborhood of about 17, 17-and-a-half million dollars. We’ve raised over $11½ million toward that.”

Despite the tough economy, Scolamiero says, he’s confident the ballet will meet its financial goals.  He says the site will eventually house administrative offices and related operations.