SAN ANTONIO, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation today announced a $15 million challenge gift from The Tobin Endowment to lead the private-sector capital campaign which will supplement the $100 million approved by Bexar County voters in 2008 for the re-construction of Municipal Auditorium into a new performing arts center. In recognition of that lead gift, the new facility will be named The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
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In addition to The Tobin Endowment challenge gift, AT&T had previously pledged $5 million to the project. The appraised value of the iconic Municipal Auditorium and the neighboring Fire Department building donated in 2008 by the City of San Antonio to the project is $41 million.
In bringing forth the challenge gift, J. Bruce Bugg Jr., Chairman and Trustee of The Tobin Endowment, said, "We are carrying on the Tobin Family's historic support for the arts in San Antonio and the nation. The Tobin Endowment was approached in 2008 by County Judge Nelson Wolff, then-Mayor Phil Hardberger and Dick Schlosberg, Vice Chairman of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation. They asked me and my fellow trustee – Leroy Denman – to consider a $15 million gift to help kick off the private-sector effort."
"They also wanted to honor the Tobin Family," he said, "especially the late Mrs. Margaret B. Tobin and her son, the late Robert L.B. Tobin, with the name of this new, world-class facility. Specifically, we were asked to make this gift on the basis of $1 million a year for 15 years."
"Leroy and I felt that while such a commitment would be by far the largest gift The Tobin Endowment has ever made," Bugg said, "there could be no finer demonstration of the Tobin Family's historic passion for the arts and for San Antonio than to play a lead role in the private funding of this fantastic new center."
"At Judge Wolff's and Mayor Hardberger's request in 2007, I had already agreed to take on the role of Chairman of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation," he said. "So, it quickly became clear to me as Foundation chair that we needed a lead gift to kick off the campaign. Leroy and I decided last year that The Tobin Endowment would make this gift. Now that we are at the point where design and construction plans are moving along, it is time to make this announcement, pointing to a groundbreaking for the project next summer."
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said, "This is a wonderful gift for what is going to be one of the great public/private collaborations in the history of Bexar County. The City of San Antonio provided the basic facilities and the County's voters approved $100 million of the funding with the passage of the bond election in May of 2008. But, we needed the private sector to step up with the funds needed to go forward with an extraordinary design which will make The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts one of the best places in the nation to see and listen to live performances."
"The Tobin Endowment made the big commitment we needed," Wolff said, "and the goal is to match their $15 million challenge with other private gifts on a one-to-one basis so that by this time next year we will have $35 million raised or committed, including the existing AT&T gift for $5 million, and we can break ground. That will lead us to a gala opening night for The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in the early fall of 2013."
"Bruce's chairmanship of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation has given him unparalleled knowledge of this project and of the expectations for excellence that we all have for it," he said. "No one has poured more time and effort into making this dream a reality. Bruce believes in leadership by example, and this challenge gift from The Tobin Endowment embodies that philosophy."
Mayor Julian Castro said, "The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will further lift San Antonio's reputation as one of America's great cities. The setting of the Tobin Center, along the Riverwalk as it moves north toward the Museum Reach, will be unlike any other facility of its type in the country."
"Judge Wolff and Mayor Hardberger together envisioned the possibilities when they coupled the concept through the County bond issue and the City's willingness to donate the Municipal Auditorium, which is one of the most recognized buildings in San Antonio," he said. "It is a great tribute to Nelson and Phil that their dream now stands ready to come to life."
"The great strides the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation has made under Bruce Bugg's leadership are underscored by today's announcement," Castro said. "I know that individual philanthropists, our corporations and foundations in our city, as well as San Antonians from all economic strata will come forward with their support to get us over the top."
In accepting the gift on behalf of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation, Dick Schlosberg, Foundation Vice Chair, said, "The Tobin Endowment's gift commitment gives us a huge head start in raising the funds needed to put us over the top. Our Board is organized for this capital campaign and we are motivated to meet the Tobin Challenge and move even further beyond it."
"We now must focus on raising the $15 million to meet the Tobin Challenge," he said. "The fact is that with the $41 million value of the City's donation of the Municipal Auditorium and Fire Department Headquarters building, the County's $100 million and the $20 million now committed from The Tobin Endowment and AT&T, we are already at $161 million in total value for the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts."
The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts essentially will be a collection of completely new facilities set inside the shell of the Municipal Auditorium which will keep its iconic façade and twin cupolas. Inside will be a 1,750-seat main performance hall with adjustable, world-class acoustics, 27 luxury boxes and mezzanine and balcony seating. In addition, the facility will contain a 230-seat Studio Theater which can be used for performances, rehearsals and community events.
Outside a dramatic Riverwalk entrance, will be a performing arts plaza with a 600-person seating capacity for outdoor performances. In 2008, The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation assumed ownership from the City of both the Municipal Auditorium and Fire Department Headquarters building and will go forward as the owner and operator of The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Rodney J. Smith joined the Foundation as General Director in January, 2009, bringing with him extensive experience in transforming the historic Denver Municipal Auditorium into the world-class Denver Performing Arts complex with multiple performance venues.
Seattle-based LMN Architects has partnered with San Antonio's Marmon Mok Architects to design the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, which will be constructed by the team of Linbeck Group from Houston and Zachry Construction Corp. of San Antonio.
SOURCE The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation