Bass Hall’s $14.7 M Renovation

The Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas in Austin is wrapping up a $14.7 million renovation, from top to bottom, inside and out.

A renovation was needed because the 2,924-capacity venue was built nearly three decades ago without a sprinkler and fire system. With the power tools already coming out, it made sense to spruce up the concert hall with some other improvements.

"We’ve torn the whole front of the building off, and we have bumped out about 25 feet and we’ve done it on all six floors," Scott Bussey, the technical director for the university’s Performing Arts Center, told Austin TV station KXAN.

"They had to open all the ceilings so we could run all the sprinkler pipes, run all the new fire alarm system," Bussey said.

The renovation began in May 2007, Gene Bartholomew, spokesman for UT Performing Arts Center, told Pollstar, and it’s about 75 percent complete. The venue is scheduled to reopen late this year with a grand reopening concert planned for the end of January 2009.

In addition to bringing the venue up to 21st century fire and safety codes, the design plans include state-of-the-art acoustics and a glass facade for a larger, light-filled lobby. The five-story lobby is being expanded along with the atrium.

There’s restaurant space for dining, improved interior lighting and increased restroom capacity, as well as new flooring, sidewalls and décor.

The improvements were funded through a $9 million commitment from the university and a bond secured by the PAC to cover the remaining $5.7 million.