Texas Tech staff, faculty, students and community members gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Office of the President celebrating the Theatre and Dance Complex on Friday evening.
The ceremony, which took place at 5:30 p.m. in the Charles E. Maedgen Jr. Theatre, marked the renovation of the Charles E. Maedgen Jr. Theatre and the completion of the building's first phase of expansion.
The newly constructed facility enables the university to provide educational experiences that facilitate the creative process in ways the university otherwise could not support, Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said while delivering opening remarks.
“There is not a higher priority at Texas Tech than providing an extraordinary experience for our students. That starts with the faculty and the staff,” Schovanec said. “The faculty provide exceptional educational experiences, the staff provide support in many ways, but if that is all we had, our students would not have a world-class learning experience. That final piece comes when you have facilities like this.”
The new facility, an expansion of the previously existing Maedgen Theatre building, features a two-level open lobby and a black box theatre, according to the Tech System website. In addition, there are new studio and rehearsal spaces among other renovations.
Christopher Huckabee, chairman of the Tech System Board of Regents, recognized those involved in the construction of the facility and likened the construction of the building to a ballet in his remarks to the crowd.
“Doing a building right is like a beautiful ballet,” he said. “I want to explain that, it’s artistic, it’s beautiful, it’s very, very precise and if done right, it looks simple, but it took amazing amounts of support and time poured into the facility.”
Huckabee went on to thank the various donors supporting the project, including the CH foundation, the Helen Jones Foundation and more.
“We don’t get to do any of this without generous donors who step up and say ‘The arts matter. This project matters. We’re going to lead,’” Huckabee said.
Mark Charney, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, said the expansion helps bring the faculty and students in the school together. Prior to the new facility, the faculty was everywhere, the costume shop was off campus and more.
Now, he has noticed that faculty see each other on a daily basis, he said, not just when they have meetings.
“It is so great to pass one another in the halls,” Charney said. “Our students, if you look at what’s going on in terms of collaboration, a lot of the facility was designed around the idea of having students sort of live and work together.”
Noel Zahler, dean of the Tech College of Visual and Performing Arts, said countless hours have been spent planning, designing, building and inspecting the new facility, and the project has involved the entire community.
“The construction has ceased, but the real difficult task lies ahead,” Zahler said.