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Sen. Hinojosa helps Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi break ground on new $81 million, 85,000-square-foot Arts and Media Building set to open in 2026 - Texas A&M - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED, FROM LEFT: Dr. Kelly M. Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen; and John Sharp, Chancellor, Texas A&M University System. On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Miller, Hinojosa, and Sharp were major speakers at the university campus to break ground for the university’s new $81 million, 85,000-square-foot Arts and Media Building. The three state leaders are displaying the “Shaka” hand signal, which is the universal university greeting. It can be used as a greeting or goodbye, a sign of approval or praise, as well as a symbol of school spirit.



Sen. Hinojosa helps Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi break ground on new $81 million, 85,000-square-foot Arts and Media Building set to open in 2026


Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Dr. Kelly M. Miller, President and CEO, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and other state, regional and university leaders gathered on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, with gold shovels in hand to break ground on Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s new $81 million 85,000-square-foot Arts and Media Building. 

The Arts and Media Building is the first major construction project for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since the completion of Tidal Hall Life Science Research Building in 2019.

The Arts and Media Building was approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which is in Hinojosa’s Senate District 20, is a predominantly Hispanic and Minority Serving Doctoral Research Institution recognized for its academic programs and faculty. 

Undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students choose from more than 85 academic programs, and students are provided individualized and immersive learning experiences.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is a public institution that was founded in 1947. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 7,824 as of fall 2022, its setting is city, and the campus size is 364 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar.

The two-story facility, which will be home to the university’s music, theatre, and dance programs, will seamlessly blend innovation with functionality and will act as a hub for artistic expression, education, and community engagement.

Building features include a state-of-the-art 325-seat proscenium theatre, a 200-seat recital hall, a 166-seat black box theatre, a dance studio, various workshops and rehearsal spaces, along with a space for a Dr. Héctor P. García display. 

Dr. Héctor P. García was a physician, military veteran and advocate for the rights of Mexican Americans.

The Arts and Media Building is being designed by BGK Architects in partnership with Bora Architecture & Interiors; the builders are Bartlett Cocke General Contractors. 

The construction project is expected to be completed in spring 2026.

Hinojosa and Miller were credited for their advocacy for the project by playing key roles in seeing the Arts and Media Building come to fruition.

“There’s very few presidents with such energy, such drive,” Hinojosa said of Miller.

“It’s because of her leadership of this community, and the administration, that this campus continues to grow and continues to offer so many educational opportunities,” Hinojosa added. “I love the arts, I love music. It brings culture, imagination, and enhances our students. It should always be very much a part of higher education.”

Miller acknowledged the pivotal roles played by state legislators and donors to raise funds for this project, including $45 million from the Texas Legislature as part of a number of capital projects at higher education institutions listed in Senate Bill 52 during the 87th Legislature in 2021.

Capital projects include new construction, renovations and infrastructure improvements that serve to enhance the physical assets of the university as well as large equipment purchases and improvements in major information systems.

That bipartisan bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday, October 23, 2021. 

Miller also shared her vision for the university as a driver of innovative economic development and cultural vibrancy, not just for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi University students but for the entire Coastal Bend community. 

She began her career as a communication professor and department chair whose offices and classes were located in the acoustically challenged (has poor sound quality) Center for the Arts. 

“Thirty years ago, I walked into the Center for the Arts, and my new office was located directly across from the band rehearsal hall,” Miller recalled. “I quickly learned that the space was not soundproofed — it was actually made of poured concrete, which carries sound. While it certainly made for a challenging work environment, I was never happier in any space in my entire career.”

For the university music and theatre departments, which are currently housed in the Center for the Arts, the new facility will provide improved sound-proofed rehearsal and performance places. It will also provide space for a costume shop and makeup area for theatre productions.

Built in 1978, the Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Fine Arts Building) long served as home for fine arts majors even as the programs grew in enrollment and found space issues and sound transparency to be critical drawbacks that limited performance options. 

Plans for the Center for the Arts include renovation to better serve other disciplines that don’t need soundproofed spaces.

Fine arts usually involves Music, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Architecture, Performing, and Film.

As an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi offers three undergraduate music degrees:

• Bachelor of Arts in Music (with an emphasis in either music studies or music industry);

• Bachelor of Music leading to Teacher Certification; and

• Bachelor of Music in Performance.

There are also two music minors.

In a Bachelor’s Degree, the Major is the main focus of a student’s studies and the Minor is a secondary specialization.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is also home to the Lichtenstein String Quartet and Harmon A. and Grace W. Dobson Islander Chamber Music Scholarship Program, which offer four-year full-tuition scholarships.

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre provides students with four academic paths. 

As an accredited member of the National Associations of Schools of Theatre, the university’s theater program has doubled in enrollment during the past decade, and reports a 100 percent employment rate for its theatre graduates.

Dr. Diana Sipes, Director of the School of Arts, Media and Communication, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, also spoke at the event.

“This building is critically important for the continued national accreditation of our music and theatre programs as we strive for the highest standards of quality, excellence, and recognition,” Sipes said. “This expansion allows us to potentially double our music major enrollment and significantly increase our theatre major enrollment as well. 

“The new building will serve as a dynamic platform for artists of various disciplines, fostering creativity, collaboration, and dedication to their craft,” Sipes noted. “Music majors will be able to give recitals in more intimate spaces while theatre majors will have the ability to stage full-scale productions. And our dance program will at last have a dedicated studio. It will truly be a next-level transformation for these fine arts programs, and we’re excited to open our doors to our community audiences.”

Dr. Mary Thornton, Professor and Chair of Music, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, emphasized the deep impact the new building would have on the Corpus Christi area fine arts scene. 

She spoke of the community impact already generated by the Harmon A. and Grace W. Dobson Islander Chamber Music Scholarship Program and the Morris L. Lichtenstein, Jr. String Quartet – all comprised of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi University students who have earned four-year full tuition and fee scholarships provided by generous donors. 

“In these ensembles, our students learn the rigors of professional performance, the subtleties of artistic collaboration, and the joy of mastering their craft. They also have the opportunity to engage with local K-12 schools while they share their passion for music and teach and inspire the next generation,” Thornton said.  “This outreach is crucial — it not only cultivates a love for the arts in young people but also strengthens the cultural fabric of our community.” 

Ryan Pérez-Castañeda ’27, a Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi theatre major, will be among the first group of students who will experience the joy of performing on the building’s brand-new stages once the project is complete in two years. 

“This new arts and media building promises to be the highlight of my senior year,” Pérez-Castañeda said. 


David A. Díaz contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (

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