University Arts Building opens Friday, Feb. 22

The University and School of the Arts expand their roles and footprint on campus and in the community; new building is the new ‘art center’

Students stand on the stage in the Harlan O. & Barbara R. Hall Recital Hall of the new University Arts Building. Construction began in May 2017 with a groundbreaking event in June 2017. The building opens to the campus and community during an open house Feb. 22, 2019.


2/20/2019 | By: Natalie Fry |

The University Arts Building makes its debut with a public viewing during its grand-opening ceremony Friday, Feb. 22.

"The breadth and depth of our campus continues to grow," University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson said. "The University Arts Building is an excellent example of the high level of energy and quality we have for our College of Liberal Arts, the School of the Arts and our University."

The three-story facility features a 287-seat recital hall, museum of art, fabrication lab, electroacoustic composition lab, soundproof rehearsal spaces, music practice rooms, faculty office spaces and recording studio. It connects to the Church Fine Arts building via a bridge.

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"This new, state-of-the-art building will enhance the quality of our musical and visual art programs, thereby creating an outstanding experience for artists, musicians and audiences alike," College of Liberal Arts Dean Debra Moddelmog said.

The University broke ground on the project in June 2017 with an event fitting for the arts, with a beautifully designed reception area overlooking the construction site, live painting event and music provided by the students from the Department of Music.

"The completion of the University Arts Building fulfills a long-awaited dream for many in our campus and arts and culture communities," Tamara Scronce, director of the School of the Arts, said. "The new building connects to the Church Fine Arts building through a walkway that bridges the legacy of our founders to the newest chapter of the visual and performing arts at the University of Nevada, Reno."

By promoting and cultivating visual and performing arts programs in this manner, the University will strengthen its leadership role in arts education in northern Nevada and continue to showcase top student and professional performances and exhibitions in music, theatre, dance and visual art. The new building will further the University's connection to the Reno community and create a model of cooperation that also will positively affect the region's economy.

"The University is known as a vibrant arts campus, and this new facility solidifies the University's commitment to the arts by not only adding a special venue to elevate performances and education of the arts but also by providing a building designed to expose the rest of campus to these wonderful activities within," DLR Group|WRL Principal Peter Rutti, AIA, said. "The University Arts Building will be home to world-class performances and major exhibitions the entire community can enjoy."

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The building is approximately 42,500 square feet and cost about $35.5 million. Funding was provided through a combination of private philanthropy and University funds. The architect was DLR Group|WRL, and the contractor was Q&D Construction Inc.

The entrance features a tiered lobby that joins the plaza, street and bridge levels into a multilayered experience to showcase art, music and performance. The architects at DLR Group|WRL used the topography of the site in the heart of campus to create an active outdoor area that connects campus pedestrian walkways. The design also preserves a large grass hill, the last remaining piece of the University's original football stadium.

"We are presenting an exciting spring schedule of events that will take full advantage of our new building and of Church Fine Arts," Scronce said. "I look forward to seeing our community at one of the many events in our newly expanded arts center."

Students walking and talking outside the University Arts Building

"The new arts building will create opportunities for learning, collaboration and partnerships. Its central location on campus will ensure the arts have great exposure, and the work and activity of students will be on display for the entire community," DLR Group|WRL Senior Associate Dennis Bree, AIA, said. "The building is a testament to the commitment and vibrancy of the University and the School of the Arts to new modes of learning, integration of technology and elevating the role the arts play in the region. DLR Group|WRL is extremely proud to have partnered with the University on this project, and we are excited by the rehearsals, performances and projects this building will facilitate to become a national model for integration of the arts."

Grand Opening

There is limited space for the opening reception and tours, so please reply to Breanne Standingwater at or at 775-682-6022. Complimentary parking is available in the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex. Attendees can enter the new building through Church Fine Arts over the walkway, or from any of the other entrances around the University Arts Building.

For more information about the School of the Arts exhibitions and performances, go to, call 775-784-4278 (4ART), or email Event information, news and photos are also available by following the School of the Arts' Instagram and Twitter @NVArts365, and Facebook pages.


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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