$28 million plan to relocate Dougherty Arts Center in design phase

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Department of Parks and Recreation continues work to relocate the Dougherty Arts Center from its current location along Barton Springs Road in Butler Shores.

The Dougherty Arts Center building has stood in the same location since 1947 and was originally built as a naval and marine reserve centre. The DAC was dedicated to the town and named for the late arts advocate Mary Ireland Graves in 1978. Since then it has served the community as an arts centre, but the building is beyond repair and requires major upgrades .

In 2019, the city council approved moving the building, which is in a flood plan and requires a number of upgrades.

The plan for the new 50,000 square foot facility includes multiple studios, two theaters, a rooftop terrace with great views and, if approved, underground parking for approximately 140 parking spaces.

Currently, the plans are in the design phase. Kevin Johnson of the City of Austin’s Department of Parks and Recreation said there were still many moving parts.

“Austin likes to take pride in being a creative economy and a city that supports the arts, so this is a chance to put our money where our mouths have been,” Johnson said.

In a condition assessment completed in 2010, the DAC was beyond repair. The building was established as a temporary structure to be demolished in the 1970s.

The Dougherty Arts Center’s planned $28 million relocation project is funded by a 2018 bond, but could end up costing more with some additional features that are still under discussion.

The current DAC will most likely be demolished after the new facility is built.

William E. Bennett