Performing Arts Center scheduled to open Fall 2010

Third time’s the charm for the proposal of a new $38.5 million Performing Arts Center at Sam Houston State University.

The project was unanimously approved in May by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, and in July by the Coordinating Board, after two previously withdrawn approvals for further work. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Performing arts center will be held next Thursday, October 2 at 10 am.

According to the SHSU’s press release, Gaertner said the regents were wonderful in their interest in the project, with members of the board visiting SHSU to attend performances of events and to tour current facilities. He also praised the Performing Arts Center Planning Committee for their efforts.

The construction of the new performing arts center will be in the parking lot just north of the Music Building and Theatre Center, bringing together the three into a Fine Arts Complex.

“The building will tie the Music Building to the University Theater and brings dance into the mix,” James Bankhead, who chairs the Department of Music said.

The performing arts have been without a venue since Old Main burned down in 1982, now this 91,976 square foot facility will have a recital hall with approximately 150 seats, and a concert hall of approximately 800 seats.

“We have absolutely world class performing arts programs here, but our venues are simply unacceptable. We’ve reached a stage where we deserve to have a venue that will be a tremendous asset for our campus, community, and the area,” Gaertner said.

The center will also include a centerpiece outdoor performance area, practice rooms for dance and music, rehearsal rooms for theater, costume storage, and offices.

“It has been a dream that’s been floating around since ’87. Everyone in the performing arts department has really wanted it and need it on campus,” Dana Nicolay, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences said.

Estimated for the fall of 2010, the planned proposal for the construction and completion of the $38.5 million project is right on target.

“We won’t go higher, but it could be lower,” Nicolay said.

According to the SHSU’s press release, the Houston architectural firm of Watkins, Hamilton, Ross Architects, Inc. designed the center, with the construction contract awarded previously to the SpawGlass Construction Corporation of Houston.

SpawGlass, who took part in the building of AB4 and the extension of the college of business, are on schedule.

“The performing arts are an integral part of every university community,” Jaimie Hebert, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said. “We are fortunate to have nationally recognized programs in our fine arts departments at SHSU.”

“This new facility will allow us to showcase these top quality programs and provide a fitting venue to market and share our faculty and students’ talents with the campus and community.”

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