The University of Texas System Board of Regents, meeting this week in Austin, gave final approval Aug. 25 for construction of a nearly $42.7 million Fine Arts Academic and Performance Complex at The University of Texas-Pan American.
The project will involve the demolition of some existing facilities and the renovation of others.
The new-construction portion of the complex -- which will replace UTPA's existing Fine Arts Auditorium and Fine Arts Annex -- will be a modern, state-of-the-art facility that will feature a 1,000-seat theater and four rehearsal halls capable of seating between 95 and 140 people. There will also be a lobby area that will be large enough to accommodate seated dinners and will feature concessions, restrooms and space for patrons to circulate before and after performances. The existing auditorium and annex will be demolished to make way for the new theater, rehearsal halls and lobby.
As part of the project, existing Fine Arts Music Buildings B and C will undergo renovations. The full interior of Building C will be demolished and reconstructed and the second floor of Building B will be renovated. Both buildings will have safety and accessibility upgrades and will get new heating and cooling systems, new roofs and new interior architectural finishes.
The architectural firm for the project is Page Southerland Page from Austin, Texas.
The complex, which is expected to be close to completion by October 2014, will add a total of nearly 14,500 square feet of space for UTPA's Fine Arts programs which will allow the University to accommodate 453 music and dance majors, up from the current enrollment of 320, and 44 faculty members, up from the current 38.
State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (Dist. 20), a member of the Rio Grande Valley's legislative delegation that worked to secure legislative approval of the TRB funding for the project, said he was happy to see the collaborative effort to build the Fine Arts Academic and Performance Complex at the University.
"Investments like these are particularly beneficial because they help boost UT Pan American's profile in the region," Hinojosa said. "This facility will attract supporters of the arts, quality performers and outside visitors. These benefits will also radiate into the community in other ways. I am confident this will be a top-notch performing arts center that will bolster the local economy by attracting jobs and investment, and enrich the cultural life of the Rio Grande Valley."
The demolition is expected to begin in August 2012 with construction beginning in October 2012.