Conroe City Council hears update on future performing arts center

In a workshop meeting on July 13, two reports were presented during a presentation to Conroe City Council on the transformation of the Walter P. Jett Building into a performing arts center, which group members local performing arts supported.

“The vision is to create a space of place for our visual performing arts,” said downtown director Frank Robinson during the workshop.

Robinson spoke about the possibilities of the Conroe Visual and Performing Arts Center. According to Robinson, the construction of this center would allow the town of Conroe to be a destination for Broadway touring shows.

Members of the Conroe Symphony as well as members of other performing arts groups in the community attended the meeting to express their hopes for the new performing arts building.

“Having a performing arts center would not only give [Montgomery County Choral Society] its first permanent home in 50 years and the space to continue to grow both our membership and our audience, but it would allow for more collaborative efforts with other arts organizations in the area, which is very much prohibited in this moment,” said Maggie McInnis, music librarian for the Montgomery County Choral Society board, at the meeting..

According to previous reports of Community Impact Journal, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack told a June 28 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting that the county had discussed using the current building that the Conroe Symphony leases for business. County. He said he encouraged the symphony to think about finding another location.

Pete Garrett, the lead architect for the performing arts center project with company Studio Red, led the consultancy through two architectural feasibility reports, showing two different design options for the performing arts center. Studio Red was named project architect in October.

According to Garrett, a report identified a full performing arts center that would support both touring and performing arts groups in the county, which would require more than 250,000 square feet of space as the original elementary school is estimated at 70,000 square feet of space. The report also shows that the theater will feature around 2,000 seats for a larger option.

A second report was presented as a scaled-down version of the first, which would scale the facility down to a 1,600-seat theater and scale down other areas as well.

The ballpark cost, according to Garrett, is estimated at $190 million for the 2,000-seat option and $70 million for the reduced 1,600-seat option. Both reports do not include the parking garage.

“I think the city has done a fantastic job acquiring this building,” Garrett said.

According to Robinson, the staff hopes that after the presentation, the council will establish a budget, create a citizens’ committee and add additional consultants to the project as well as provide feedback and direction.

William E. Bennett