Groundbreaking for New Center for Fine & Performing Arts At University Tuesday

Texas A&M International University's campus is growing again. The University will break ground on its new $18 million Center for the Fine and Performing Arts in a ceremony scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Part of the University's $39.5 million Phase III expansion, the Center is viewed by many as a regional forum for learning, performance and artistic fulfillment. The 88,000-square foot facility will include rehearsal and performance spaces, classrooms, exhibit areas and a music hall with over 517 seats.

University president Dr. Charles Jennett said the addition of a home for the arts on the University campus is eagerly awaited.

"The presence of a facility like this and the programs that it will house will bring additional richness and relevance to the A&M International experience. We're all looking forward to its completion, " he said.

Dr. Jerry Thompson, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said students and faculty are looking forward to the long-awaited home for the University's arts programs.

"Our research indicates that Laredo and the University's growing regional service area includes large number of students interested in exploring a fine arts degree or courses here. We'll now be able to afford students and community members alike with great opportunities to see, learn about art and enjoy artistic performances," Dr. Thompson said.

Thompson noted that the University's Mariachi International, Ballet Folklorico, Dance Performance Troupe, Classical Spanish Ballet and the growing number of fine arts majors are among the many groups that are looking forward to the completion of the Center.

The building should be completed in 20-months and is one of the most complicated constructed to date on the campus, said Joe Garcia, vice president for Finance and Administration.

"The construction should begin sometime in January 2001. Estimated construction time is forecast for a 20-month completion with the building being ready for use by students by late fall 2002," said Garcia.

Also included in the Phase III expansion are the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, the Student Development Center, intramural fields and courts and infrastructure improvements. Combined, the Phase III expansion will see the campus' facilities grow by more than 60%. Completion of Phase III will represent a $120 million investment in higher education in Laredo and South Texas.

Phase IV, the campus' completion, will be targeted in this Legislative Session and will focus on additional laboratory, infrastructure and support services space for the growing University.

For additional information, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration at 326-2380.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at