UCF fund-raises for campus performing arts complex

The blueprints have been prepared and the contractor hired for what the University of Central Florida calls the largest expansion its performing arts program has ever seen, although funding has been slow to materialize.

Following completion of the project's first phase five years ago--a $28 million addition of teaching and rehearsal space--UCF is trying to come up with $80 million for a 138,000-square-foot complex that school officials feel would take the performing arts program to the next level. No longer would performances be given in a converted chemistry lecture hall or auditoriums at local high schools.


The UCF project, at its main campus, would include a 600-seat concert hall, a 520-seat theater, a 263-seat recital hall and a 222-seat performance space for plays.

Balfour Beatty is the contractor, dudapainearchitects is the lead architect and HKS Architects is the associate architect.


But so far only a bit over $10 million has been committed, according to those close to the project, and UCF needs $30 million before it can break ground.

The university is trying to do the project through private funding, with money coming from donors like big businesses and wealthy individuals, and it has been seeking funds for several years.

"With the Dr. Phillips Center (for the Performing Arts) being built in downtown Orlando and the recession, that would have had an impact on the capacity of the donors, said Jeffrey Moore, director of UCF's school of performing arts. "But now, with the Phillips center opening and the economy improving we're hoping those circumstances have changed."

Moore emphasizes that the UCF's performing arts center is one that would be used by students, and not compete with the Broadway calibre events the Phillips center presents.

"We want the UCF performing arts center so students can be trained to one day perform in venues like the Phillips Center," Moore said.

The university has been seeking money from the state for the project, but the state has a long list of building requests. "As those on the list in front of us are funded we move up the list, but we are not at the top yet," Moore said.