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Arts & Culture

Tobin Center Preview: Performing Arts Building Two Years From Completion

The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is being marketed as the home for San Antonio’s artistic community. What was once Municipal Auditorium is now just a shell as the rest of the theater is re-built from the ground up.

As you walk down Lexington or Auditorium Circle you’ll see what remains of the auditorium built in the 1920's. Following some initial opposition, the Tobin Center has now been under construction since May of last year. When the center is done in two years, 2,500 people will have worked on its $203 million reconstruction. 

Bruce Bugg, Chair of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation, demonstrated to reporters the original façade of the Auditorium has been kept intact.

"This opens into the main H-E-B Performance Hall which will be a 1,750 seat performance hall for the main center," Bugg said while pointing to an open area that sinks below the entryway.

Bexar County footed the bill for much of the center which is 91 percent funded. The outer shell of the building is scheduled for completion in May of next year. Tobin Center Manager Director David Green said a year after the shell is finished in 2014, musicians will be brought in to play and help find the right acoustics for the building.

"We'll actually have musicians come in an play for three months - and choruses - so that the can tweak the acoustics to make it optimized," Green said.

The Tobin Center will also have one feature no other performing arts venue has in the United States. Through mechanics, each row of seating in the theater will able flip underground and create a flat floor that can be raised to the stage level for a gala or reception.

When it's completed in the fall 2014, the Tobin Center will be home to the San Antonio Symphony, the Ballet, and youth orchestra.