On August 11, the city of Frisco, Frisco ISD and Hall Park announced that they will follow different directions in the pursuit of developing a performing arts center and move forward with building two separate facilities.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Frisco City Council unanimously voted in June 2021 to approve a 162-acre development on the Dallas North Tollway at Gaylord Parkway for a performing arts center and park, that would have over 1,000 seats and had an estimated cost of $114 million. The public-private partnership plans included a multi-story parking garage, a Klyde Warren Park-inspired five-acre park with a playground, facility office space and concession areas. (In case you missed it, you can read Local Profile’s coverage of the center right here.)
But since then things have taken a turn. In January 2022, the partnership engaged experts to conduct a feasibility study, a spatial analysis and review the needs of community arts organizations. In the latest press release, officials announced that Frisco ISD would be parting ways and continue to pursue building a visual and performing arts center on land already owned by the district. Meanwhile, the city of Frisco and Hall Group along with the city’s Community Development Corporation will continue to explore the construction of a world-class performing arts center.
According to the official announcement, the split is the result of each partner’s unique priorities, responsibility to its stakeholders and cost concerns. For the FISD, the priority is to build a center with a student-first focus, while for the city and Hall Group, the main concern is to create a community-centric and commercially viable facility.
“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,” said René Archambault, Frisco ISD School Board President in an official statement. “The community’s investment in arts education will ripple throughout our community for generations.”
“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,” said Mayor Jeff Cheney. “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.”
In 2018, voters approved an FISD bond package that included $43 million for a 1,250-seat fine arts facility with gallery space, instructional training and office space. The facility will more than double the district’s current audience capacity and will provide students with opportunities for more collaboration on large-scale performances across its 75 campuses.