Performing Arts

PBK architects outline features of future visual and performing arts center, administration building in Cy-Fair ISD

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Cy-Fair ISD’s much-anticipated new visual and performing arts center — a multitiered facility with the capacity for an audience of 1,500 people — is expected to be complete in 2022, making its debut as a venue for student shows and performances.

The future VPAC, and an adjacent administration building, are currently in the design phase and are intended to be completed by December and November 2022 respectively. Both will be constructed on a 26-acre plot of land located west of Cy-Fair High School near U.S. 290 bordered by Cypress North Houston Road and Matzke Road. The projects were approved as part of the $1.762 billion bond passed by voters in 2019.

Brandon Ross, representative with PBK Architects, who are designing both buildings, said the intention of building them both on the same parcel was to allow ease of access for the community.

“It’s an efficient use of a parcel for the district and it allowed us to maximize the use of that land to house both buildings,” Ross said during the Dec. 14 school board meeting. “All of the appropriate site parking, paving, delivery loading areas are on one site. …It allows for a smaller floor plate, a more efficient building, stacking things vertically in both buildings and supporting them so that visitors, occupants and employees can completely access both buildings.”

The VPAC will house 1,500 audience members in its auditorium. The four-tier building will have two levels of orchestra seating and two balconies. The orchestra space was built closer to the audience to create a more personal experience.

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“This central facility will provide both some relief in size and in quantity for future activities,” Ross said. “It’s set up to support true visual performing arts to support your band, orchestra, dance (and) arts. It’s truly an all-inclusive facility. It has spaces to support all of those.”

The VPAC will have infrastructure in place for additional lights, displays for events, and technology that could be installed at a future date. The lobby will also be used to host art displays and exhibits.

“The lobby is a very key element,” Jorge Tiscareno with PBK Architects said. “It’s not only the first (time) you’re welcoming the public and the audience, it is actually like another area for performances, displays and galleries.”

The admin building will include a five-story office area and a public space for board meetings, a one-stop shop for staff and the community.

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“We stacked the five floors in the office tower and separated them from what we call the public area, which is the board room, the conference center and some of the shared spaces,” Ross said. “That achieved multiple things: a safe and secure building and also allowance of the organization of the stacked floors to support the administration better and separate the two.”

Ross said the building’s design takes into account the function of different departments, and which departments regularly collaborate.

“It also allowed us to include some internal stairs so there could be more collaboration between departments and smart adjacency,” Ross said. “When we met with those departments we not only learned about each department itself but who they interact and who they need to work with the most.”

Ross said PBK is designing office spaces in the admin building with safety and health in mind, including adequate space to accommodate social distancing safe air circulation.

According to a PBK project schedule, the construction phase for the projects is expected to occur from May 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2022.

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