A new academic year typically brings plenty of change. For music professors and students attending classes at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Brownsville campus, this year is opening the doors on a long-awaited one.
School of Music faculty and staff are settling into their new wing in the Music, Science & Learning Center. Director Kurt Martinez said professors began moving into the building in July, and finishing touches are being made to ready the building for the first day of classes Monday.
The UT System Board of Regents in 2013 approved $54 million in Permanent University Fund bond proceeds for the 102,500-gross-square-foot building. It’s just east of the Main Building and is made up of two freestanding wings joined by a courtyard and a sky bridge. The School of Music will occupy three floors in one wing, while the other houses science laboratories, classrooms, meeting rooms, study space and offices.
“It’s incredible,” Martinez said. “I have to pinch myself sometimes.”
Martinez said the School of Music in Brownsville previously was housed in Texas Southmost College’s Eidman Hall. It had been a science department building and wasn’t well-suited for music classes when it came to both space and acoustics.
“We needed a place with good acoustics. We needed space to rehearse. We had nothing. You couldn’t even get good Wi-Fi,” Martinez said. The new facility “is going to aid the students tremendously as they practice — and get better quicker.”
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