About the Academic and Performing Arts Center
On August 25, 2011 The University of Texas System Board of Regents gave administrative approval for the construction of a $42.7 million Academic and Performing Arts Center (APAC) at The University of Texas-Pan American.
“Today is a great day for our students, this university and our community. We have been working on this for a long time. We are grateful to the regents and chancellor for allowing the APAC project to move forward. We also appreciate the support we received from our legislative delegation that represents our Valley and the university's needs so ably,” said UT Pan American President Robert S. Nelsen. “Our students will not only have the top of the line facilities they deserve to practice and perform in, but our community will have an auditorium that will provide a state-of-the-art venue for music and dance performances.”
The project involves the demolition of some facilities and the renovation of others, under the architectural expertise of PageSouthlandPage from Austin, Texas.
The new-construction portion of the center — which is replacing 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 theatre (Building A) 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 auditorium and annex have been demolished to make way for the new theatre, rehearsal halls and lobby.
As part of the project, the existing Fine Arts Music Buildings B and C are undergoing renovations. The full interior of Building C is being demolished and reconstructed and the second floor of Building B is being renovated. Both buildings will have safety and accessibility upgrades and will get new heating and cooling systems, new roofs and interior architectural finishes. The center, 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.
The project was originally proposed in August 2006 at a cost of almost $50 million, but has undergone revisions that have brought the cost down to the $42,696,000 approved by the regents. To fund the project, $39,796,000 will come from the tuition revenue bond proceeds and $2,900,000 will come from the state’s Higher Education Assistance Fund (HEAF). 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 Academic and Performing Arts Center 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 enriching the cultural life of the Rio Grande Valley.”
The site has been under construction since November 2012.