University of Tampa breaks ground on ‘transformative’ performing arts centre

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University of Tampa has plans for a new arts centre that promises to transform students' performances.

By U2B Staff 

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The University of Tampa (UT) held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for their new performing arts centre, which they believe will “transform” the creative arts scene for both university students and the wider Tampa community.

The four-story, 90,000-square-foot structure is the latest investment for the university who has been going through a large-scale construction boom over recent years.

Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, David Gudelunas, believes the new building will be a place where students can learn, create, innovate and continue to break artistic boundaries.

“By bringing together the performing and visual arts that are currently scattered around campus in inherited spaces, the stunning new facility will facilitate collaboration, creative synergies and cross-disciplinary teamwork,” Gudelunas said.

“This is so important in not just artistic fields, but the myriad of professional contexts where our students end up after graduation.”

The Ferman Centre – named after long-time supporters of the university, the Ferman family – will offer a recital hall, practice rooms, black box theatre, art and dance studios, as well as study spaces, classrooms and faculty offices.

The acoustically tuned theatre will be able to seat 200 people, ideal for recitals, film screenings, and speeches. While the three recording studios will have professional level technology and level control room.

The courtyard comes complete with its own sand pit area and furnaces for casting metal or ceramics, and a state-of-the-art plasma cutter can be found in the new sculpture studio.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ferman Centre of Fine Arts at the University of Tampa, April 25, 2019.

As the striking centrepiece of the building, the multi-use lobby space will have gallery walls for displaying artwork and lead through to a specialised area for music and dance performances. Above this elevated performance area is a combination study and gallery. The two are connected by a circular stair that has a performance stage mid-landing.

University President Ron Vaughn sees the new building as an opportunity for UT’s excellent creative arts students to finally get the space they deserve and need to thrive at a high level.

“UT’s reputation is rapidly escalating nationally and internationally,” Vaughn said. “Continuing to advance our fine and performing arts programmes is very much part of this effort. This building will elevate this whole set of college programmes as well as further enhance UT’s reputation.”


Lead architect Eric Kreher of Kreher Wehling Jacquette Architects Inc. is teaming up with EWI Construction on the build. This isn’t the first time the two have paired up, they also designed and constructed UT’s Fitness and Recreation Centre, which opened in 2016.

In line with UT’s commitment to sustainability, the Ferman Centre will be designed and constructed to be a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the US Green Building Council. If successful, it will be UT’s eighth LEED-certified building.