UTPA Celebrates Opening of New Performing Arts Complex

Faculty and student dancers and musicians from the University of Texas-Pan American and University of Texas at Brownsville took to the stage of the new 60,000-square-foot performing arts center for its inaugural performance on April 23, 2015. The university celebrated the opening of the theatre with a free musical for the campus and community.

The 1,000-seat multi-purpose theatre, which is part of the recently completed Academic Performing Arts Complex, will accommodate a variety of music, dance and theatrical performances. The performing arts center also provides dedicated rehearsal spaces for the Band, Orchestra, Choir and Mariachi/Jazz ensembles.

Inside the theatre, vertical white oak wood grilles interspersed with the right balance of reflective and absorptive materials provide exceptional acoustics. Meticulous attention to other details, such as the fabrics used in the adjustable curtains and seat cushions, also allow for variable acoustic tuning to suit specific performance types and contribute to the sound quality in the space. Rehearsal halls have also been designed to effectively control sound in order to improve the quality of recordings used during practice sessions.

Designed by Page, the newly formed complex replaces two existing 40-year-old buildings with the new performing arts center along with two renovated buildings that frame an expanded courtyard for the Fine Arts Department. In addition to the facilities noted above in the new building, the renovated buildings include new faculty offices, classrooms, extensive practice rooms, listening and music labs, and a dance studio. The front and side lobbies in the performing arts center are active galleries to feature the works of various regional artists, while another area will house a rotating display of student artwork and awards.  This state-of-the-art, 94,000-square-foot complex will greatly enhance the performance and rehearsal capabilities of the Music department and the Rio Grande Valley Arts Community as it opens its doors to touring performers of many arts genres.

The Academic Performing Arts Complex is located near the southeast corner of campus. The grand porch and lobby of the performing arts center are oriented toward University Drive and the City of Edinburg’s vibrant downtown to the south and east, which combine to make the entire complex the southeast campus gateway from the city. The new academic spaces will house the 400 future students and music majors at what will be called the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley when UTPA merges with UT-Brownsville in the summer of 2015.