Stage Set for Lubbock Performing Arts Center

By: Ashley Claster

The stage is being set for a performing arts center in Lubbock. Members of the Lubbock Entertainment Performing Arts Association (LEPAA) have had one mission the past several months: collect a lot of money. They have been good at it, now eclipsing the first milestone in their fundraising goal. More than $45 million dollars has been raised in less than a year. That is enough to make the Performing Arts Center a go.

“This is a great testimony to the local community and their giving. We’re thrilled to be at this point this early,” LEPAA Board Chairman Tim Collins said.

“The city played the role of saying, okay if you guys can show us the ability to raise the necessary millions of dollars, then at that point in time proceed forwards,” Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein said.

And proceed they will. The center’s main hall will have more than 2,000 seats. The venue will also feature a catering kitchen and a grand lobby.

“We’ll have to continue to work hard to raise the rest of the money,” Collins said. “Our building project budget is $85 million dollars. Our operating reserve is $30 million dollars. So we obviously still have a lot of work to do.”

The new center will be on the land where the old DPS building now stands. Once completed, it will be 122,000 square feet.

“We did a land transfer. At that point, we’re really kind of backing out of the picture,” Klein said. “They’ve got to raise a certain amount of dollars. At that point in time, they can continue forward. And hopefully complete it sooner rather than later.”

LEPAA hopes to stage national touring productions as well as local productions of plays, musicals, symphonies and ballets. Right now other communities in our region, like Amarillo and Ruidoso, have much finer venues than Lubbock. They are getting all of the business.

“We want to consider ourselves partners with those communities and make sure that when a show does go to those locations, they can come here as well,” Collins said.

“If we can bring those into our community, bring in more people… those tax dollars that otherwise wouldn’t come in in terms of sales tax, that’s a win-win for the citizens of Lubbock,” Klein said.

Designing the venue and preparing the location is the next phase of the project. LEPAA expects to have renderings of the center in six to eight months. As for the rest of the funding, the plan is to have it in the bank before construction begins.

There is a nagging issue that is yet to be resolved: parking. If the Civic Center and Performing Arts Center have events at the same time, parking spaces will be scarce. LEPAA said that issue will be addressed at a later date, and most likely require a parking garage or off-site lots served by trolleys.