Partnership for Frisco Performing Arts Center Canceled
By Frisco STYLE
Frisco ISD, the City of Frisco and Hall Park jointly announced on Thursday that they will no longer partner on a Frisco performing arts center that was to be built at Hall Park.
In a statement distributed separately by Frisco ISD, the district explained that “after months of meticulous research and reviewing entity priorities, Frisco ISD has decided it will best serve students by independently building a Visual and Performing Arts Center using land already owned by the District.
“A project that could meet the needs of all the parties would require additional financing from both the public and private sectors, so it was determined that the best way for the district to move forward is to build a facility with the core purpose of serving students.”
According to the district, conversations regarding a future Frisco ISD fine arts facility began in 2018. Community members served on a Facilities and Programs Evaluation Committee and encouraged FISD to explore potential partnerships before deciding on a plan for a facility. In November of that year, voters approved a $691 million bond package that earmarked $43 million for the fine arts facility.
The fine arts facility described to and approved by Frisco ISD voters in 2018 included a 1,250-seat auditorium and spaces for a gallery, instructional training and offices. In the years since, the district said, its leadership has “engaged several entities interested in expanding arts education and student opportunity.”
In June 2021, a master development agreement was approved between the City of Frisco, Frisco ISD, the Frisco Economic Development and Community Development Corporations and HALL Group Founder and President Craig Hall to build a performing arts center at the sprawling office park. As reported in Frisco STYLE last fall, the facility was proposed to include a 1,250-1,500-seat main performance hall, a 250- to 350-seat community theater, a nearly six-acre park and a parking garage.
According to FISD’s statement, during feasibility explorations,the district temporarily agreed to expand the scope of the project to 1,500 seats to accommodate potential use by commercial entities. However, it now plans to move forward with the project that was originally presented to voters.
The FISD project will include:
- A facility with a maximum capacity of 1,250, which is more than double the size of current FISD campus auditoriums.
- Expanded future-ready learning and student opportunities.
- Expanded collaborative performances between fine arts disciplines, campuses and grade levels.
- Maximized student instructional time by hosting student events at the fine arts facility that normally occur during the school day.
- Use of the facility more than 160 days per year, with the potential for outside groups and/or partners to utilize the facility as well.
- Future hosting of UIL and evaluative competitive events in order to reduce fine arts instructional time lost at host campuses.
“The community asked us to do our due diligence and explore opportunities with the potential to benefit our students, and I am proud to say we have done that,” Frisco ISD Board President René Archambault said. “We are thankful for the support and vision from the City of Frisco and Craig Hall throughout this partnership exploration. We share the same goal of an expanded and thriving arts community in Frisco, and we look forward to helping shape that future through increased opportunities for young people in the fine arts.”
Design work on the FISD Visual and Performing Arts Center could commence this fall.
In Thursday’s joint statement from Frisco ISD, the City of Frisco and Hall Park, it was explained that in January of this year, the collective group engaged experts to conduct a feasibility study, spatial analysis and review the needs of community arts organizations.
According to the statement, “Due to each partner’s unique priorities, responsibility to its stakeholders and cost concerns, the partners were prevented from moving forward as a collective group.”
“We’re grateful for such a thorough process,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said in the statement. “We learned so much about the state of ‘the arts’ in our community. From the needs of our various arts and community groups to the dream of bringing Broadway to Frisco, the demand for arts has never been higher. As a result, I’m more confident than ever Frisco can support a premier performing arts facility benefiting the entire region. While this partnership project is changing direction, the district remains the city’s most valued partner.”
Craig Hall, founder and chairman of Hall Group, in the statement said, “Hall Group remains as committed as ever to increasing the accessibility of the arts for Frisco citizens, as has been the case since we began developing Hall Park and the Texas Sculpture Garden in the late 1990s.
“Frisco has had an impressive track record of successful public-private partnerships, and while this particular partnership has changed course, we are still actively supporting the City of Frisco’s development of a programmed community park that will include many exciting art elements and we look forward to having more opportunities to work with these parties again in the future.”