Tyler Junior College is heading toward the completion of the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center come January 2021. Building construction launched in April 2018.
Photos by Michael Bald
The front entrance will hold the new plaza and fountain for the center.
“We’ve replaced the old duck pond with the new fountain,” said Bryce McWilliams, director of theatre facilities. “The geese are coming back, I know that was a thing a lot of people were concerned about.”
McWilliams added there will be a valet loop near the entrance.
“We’re adding a space where people can pull in and drop people off and do valet parking,” he said.
A courtyard like area in the front of the center should offer a outdoor space for patrons and students.
“It’ll be a great hang out spot for people,” McWilliams said. “We also talked about having movie nights, bringing a screen out here and having people stretch out blankets on grass.”
Underneath the stage will be space for an orchestra, and there is a trap door for actors and scenery to come on stage.
“We’ll be able to fit a whole orchestra in here,” McWilliams said. “It’s a really flexible space. Typically, if we had a full orchestra we would not have performers or scenery down here, but we could if the orchestra was smaller.”
The lobby has added more functions than the original theatre such as more space and more efficient means of entering and exiting.
“The box office is a completely new facility,” McWilliams said. “In the old one it had a single window that was cut into a closet. Now we have a box office with outside access.”
There are three entryways into the lobby with lots of windows and high ceilings.
The new stage of the center has doubled in size.
“This is all new build,” said McWilliams. “The old space was about half this size, and so we demolished it and built a new theatre attached to the old building.”
The new space allows room for more props and scenery for events.
“The proscenium is wider and taller,” McWilliams said. “You’ll be able to fit scenery and performers backstage, which is something that we previously couldn’t do.”