TCU raising funds to build $80M “School of Music Village” at TCU


    Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated John Giordano's title. It has since been corrected.

    The TCU School of Music, backed by the administration of the university, is beginning fundraising for what will be the largest academic building in TCU’s history.

    The proposed School of Music Village, set to be the size of a full city block, will cost an estimated $80 million dollars, School of Music Director Richard Gipson said. The village facility will be 186,000 square feet and feature three performance spaces, including an 800 seat performance hall and an opera studio.

    The village will be four stories tall and located on the block of Berry Street and McCart Avenue, where a TCU parking lot currently stands. Harold Leeman, associate director of major projects and facility planning, said in an email to TCU 360 that TCU's graduate housing, also located on McCart Avenue, will not be affected by the School of Music Village.

    Construction on the village will begin once the funds are secured.

    The $80 million pricetag is both a feasible and realistic number, Gipson told TCU 360. Fundraising is in the beginning stages, as the school of music is working on finding principal donors via foundations, corporations and individuals. Gipson said he did not have a specific expectation he wants to reach with principal donors by the end of the fiscal year.

    In a promotional video for the project, John Giordano, former director of the Fort Worth Symphony, said the new facility will be a performance space for both the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Fort Worth Symphony.

    TCU trustee Marcia Fuller French said in the video that she anticipates the new facility to be recognizable to the city of Fort Worth as a cultural landmark.

    The renovations come at a time where the school of music has outgrown its original spaces, Gipson said.

    Currently housed throughout seven different buildings, the school of music does not have logistical space for practices or for band ensembles. The current band room does not have enough room to have both students and instruments in the space, and the university’s orchestra is confined to Ed Landreth Auditorium for practice spaces, Gipson said.

    “The auditorium gets used for many things. When we can’t use it, we can’t rehearse or we have to move out to elsewhere in the city,” Gipson said.

    The choral program at TCU has similar issues, as TCU does not have a space large enough for the ensemble to practice. Gipson said the university has the faculty and students to make the school of music world-renowned, but does not have enough space to build.

    The TCU administration agreed with Gipson, and numerous officials said there is a need to expand the space for the music school.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said that the university is “committed to the finest music school in America,” and that he wants to have a facility which raises the prestige of the university.

    “When fully realized, a new Music Village at TCU would finally make our facilities for that area equivalent to the quality of the professors and programs we already have in our great School of Music,” the chancellor wrote in an email to TCU 360.

    Provost Nowell Donovan agreed, and said in the video that the school must be enhanced, as the program is “on the cusp of being world-class.”

    With the administration backing the new vision, the only thing left remaining is the funding. Gipson likened the situation to the rebuilding of Amon G. Carter Stadium and the commitment behind the TCU Athletics department.

    Just as the athletics program matched high-quality facilities and support with vision, the school of music can be a top program as well, Gipson said.

    “We can get the great musicians, we have the best faculty and can continue to improve,” Gipson said. “We can do an extraordinary thing as long as we have the space to grow.”