Cal State San Bernardino Opens New Performing Arts Center

California State University, San Bernardino held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Performing Arts Center, featuring a 500-seat theater and space for music education.

The 73,337-square-foot center, with a price tag of just over $126 million, is expected to open in the 2024-25 school year, school officials said.

When completed, the theater will be the only one of its size and quality in the Inland Empire, allowing more of the area’s community to experience the highly acclaimed productions of CSUSB’s student performers and student musicians, said university spokesman Joe Gutierrez.

The record-breaking heat wave moved the ribbon-cutting ceremony inside the Santos Manuel Student Union South, where nearly 300 CSUSB administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members attended.

The new PAC will be located south of the existing Performing Arts building.

“Providing our students with 21st century resources means they must have access to state-of-the-art facilities. Therefore, our campus must both refresh and build new ones over time,” CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales said at the event.

Artist's impression of the new CSUSB Performing Arts Center.  The $126 million project is expected to be ready to open in the 2024-25 academic year.

Morales expressed his joy at attending CSUSB’s musical and theatrical performances and told attendees, “I know you agree with me that our students deserve the best. They already have it with their faculty – now we need to make sure they have it in their learning spaces.

Morales thanked Stan and Ellen Weisser ’68, longtime supporters of CSUSB, who offered the university $300,000 for the new PAC. The university named the home of the performing arts center the Ellen and Stan Weisser Home.

“My thanks to Stan and Ellen Weisser for their leadership in seed donation, which has brought us to today,” Morales said.

The center will provide modern teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces required for a contemporary performing arts program. The creation of a new PAC theater will allow the university to provide a more equitable educational experience that reflects the excellence of the theater arts and music programs at CSUSB.

The building will also create a new “gateway” to campus that will show a modern, forward-looking face to visitors and the community at large.

“Once its doors open, we will be able to provide invaluable learning experiences for our students and strengthen the connection between our campus and local communities,” Morales said. “Because this foundation stone is for the foundation stone of a project for EI.”

Rafik Mohamed, Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke about the benefits of introducing a new state-of-the-art building for student learning.

“Buildings are not just about structure. Buildings are pretty much our number one priority, and that’s student success,” Mohamed said. “Research shows that student learning and achievement increase when students are taught in new, rebuilt, or renovated structures. Specifically, campus facilities have been shown to have a positive effect on student health, behavior, engagement, and attendance, all of which are associated with higher student achievement.

Rueyling Chuang, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, thanked everyone who helped along the way and attended the ceremony.

“Thank you to our incredible donors and supporters who are here today supporting our college and our students. Whether you are an alumnus, faculty or staff member, student, community member or friend of the university, your presence here today means a lot to us,” she said. . “Without the support and generosity of people like you, building a performing arts center like this would not be possible. Thank you for helping us turn our dream into reality.

Attendees also heard welcoming remarks from Terry Donovan Smith, Chair of the Department of Theater Arts, an acknowledgment of the land by Robert Levi, the University’s Elder/Culture Bearer in Residence, and remarks from Sam Sudhakar, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology Services. , and Robert Nava, Vice President for Academic Advancement.

The event also featured musical performances by CSUSB alumnus Daniel Ramon Jr., student Trisha Owens and pianist Alastair Edmonstone.

The project architect is the Los Angeles office of HGA Architects and the general contractor is the Los Angeles office of Rudolph and Sletten.

The Performing Arts Center is the first new publicly funded academic building on campus under CSUSB’s current master plan.

In September 2017, the CSU Board of Trustees approved the updated CSUSB Physical Campus Master Plan with an increase in the enrollment cap from 20,000 to 25,000 full-time equivalent students.

This change recognized the growing demand for higher education in the Inland Empire, the fastest growing region in the country, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

With the support of the Board of Trustees, CSUSB began implementing the campus master plan first through the completion of 400-bed student accommodation and communal restaurants in 2018, the Center for Global building Innovation in 2019, and more recently with student Santos Manuel. Union Expansion Project, which had its official opening earlier this year.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.

William E. Bennett