The History Behind Buddy Holly Hall

LEPAA first revealed plans for a state-of-the-art venue in April 2013, based on the recommendations of a business plan led by LEPAA’s selected developer, Garfield Public/Private.  Shortly following, on July 5, 2013, the Lubbock City Council granted the land of the soon to be vacant Department of Public Safety Headquarters as the site to house the new center. After they begin their fundraising efforts, LEPAA received several grants from foundations and one significantly large private donation which springboarded them into the campaign.

Initial plans for the performing arts center included 120,000 square feet, at a construction budget of $85 million. Similar to other performing arts venues across the country, an annual operating loss of nearly $950,000 was anticipated. To compensate for this expected annual shortfall, LEPAA planned to raise an additional $30 million for an endowment, bringing the funding requirement to $116 million.

Recognizing the need for financial sustainability, LEPAA searched for ways to collaborate with other community partners to increase use, efficiency and operational revenue. Partnerships bloomed with Lubbock ISD, Ballet Lubbock and Marketstreet, increasing the scope, size and utilization of The Buddy Holly Hall. These partnerships increased the size of the facility to 220,000 square feet with a construction budget to $154 million ,while also increasing projected annual operating revenues to minimize or nearly eliminate the anticipated annual operating shortfall, and possibly to reach positive operating results annually. LEPAA expects to raise an additional $5 million for a capital endowment, bringing the current funding requirement to $159 million.

LEPAA chose world renowned Diamond Schmitt Architects as the design architect of record, rounding out the first-class design team with MWM Architects and Parkhill, Smith & Cooper. The Hall will be operated by SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management.

In June 2014, Maria Elena Holly graciously gave LEPAA her permission to use her late husband’s name in the title of this performing arts facility, free of royalty, as The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences.

Kicking off the first phase of the project, the demolition of the DPS site began on December 10, 2014.

On January 22, 2015, the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees approved a memorandum of understanding to join in partnership with LEPAA and The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. This strong partnership will have great impact in the community by offering students the opportunity to perform in a world-class venue. Students will have the well-deserved chance in the spotlight whether it be competing in a UIL competition or participating in a One-Act Play.

On March 25, 2015, LEPAA unveiled the designs for the current footprint of The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. In addition to a 2,200 seat main theater, the venue includes a 425 seat studio theater, a 6,000 square foot multi-purpose room, a bistro café by MarketStreet, the new home to Ballet Lubbock, and outdoor performance areas. With a hybrid design and a wide spread array of amenities, the new center is unique to any venue of its kind in the country.

On Nov. 12, 2015, LEPAA and Ballet Lubbock announced a one-of-a-kind partnership in The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. Ballet Lubbock will be an anchor tenant, operating the 22,000 square-foot dance center located in the north east wing of the venue. The dance center will contain the entire operation of Ballet Lubbock, including six dance studios, parent and community space, production areas and administrative offices.

On April 20, 2017, LEPAA officially broke ground at The Buddy Holly Hall, with more than 500 community members in attendance. Construction by general contractor Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. began on April 24, 2017, and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020.

View more renderings of Buddy Holly Hall and keep up with construction efforts in our photo gallery.