Texas A&M University broke ground on the new $40 million John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center on Friday, Sept. 8, at 2:30 p.m., at the corner of George Bush Drive and Coke Street in College Station.
“The center will allow us to bring together all the bands, choirs and orchestras under one roof to learn and grow musically, in addition to academically,” said Texas A&M Director of Bands and Music Activities Timothy Rhea. “Music is an important part of both our human and our university experiences, and the new center will be like everything Texas A&M does—first class.”
Performances by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and Singing Cadets kicked off the event, and special guests, including The Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72 and Regent Charles Schwartz, and Texas A&M’s President Michael K. Young and Vice President for Student Affairs Daniel J. Pugh, offered remarks about the construction project.
“Music is so fundamental to much of what we do—it is pervasive and woven throughout the life of this institution, and is in so many ways the highest expression of what we are, how we come together and how we understand the world,” said Young in his remarks at the event. “To continue weaving that tradition through this entire institution is an important goal of this new building.”
The new 70,000-square-foot center will accommodate more than 1,300 student musicians who participate in a total of 14 orchestras, choral groups and bands, including the nationally acclaimed Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
Most notably, four rehearsal halls with state-of-the-art acoustics will allow various musical groups to rehearse simultaneously; the Aggie Band will rehearse outdoors on a 100-yard artificial turf practice field as well as indoors for the first time in more than six years; the student musicians will have unprecedented access to individual soundproof practice rooms during and after school hours; and the students will have the convenience of ample storage and locker space for their instruments and other necessities. The resource-efficient, silver-certified LEED design, which Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, and Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. collaborated to create, also will provide plenty of room for future growth.
The new music center replaces the E.V. Adams Band Hall, built in 1970, that ceased to adequately house and efficiently service all members of the university’s various musical groups long ago. Construction, conducted by SpawGlass, is expected to wrap up near the end of the summer 2019 semester so that students can begin using the facility in the fall.
“I am excited about the capital projects that are being constructed on the campus,” Sharp said. “This band hall will be worthy of Texas A&M’s choirs, orchestras and bands, including the one band that has never lost a halftime.”
Texas A&M University is funding half of the $40 million project, and the Texas A&M Foundation is funding the other half. The Foundation has already secured more than $19.4 million, including a $10 million naming gift from the Ed Rachal Foundation in Corpus Christi.