"It will change the face of the music department," says Ronda Mains, Chair of the UA Music Department. "It means the world to us. We have never had a facility where the students can rehearse and perform in the same space."
Donors have promised to pay some of the $17 million price tag, but the school asked the city's Advertising and Promotions Commission for $1 million. Administrators say the venue will bring arts patrons to town, adding to the city's Hotel Motel and Restaurant tax.
"The commission kind of stepped back and said well we need to do our due diligence in investigating this proposal," says A&P Executive Director Marilyn Heifner. "A thing that the commissioners always look at is does it put heads in beds and does it put new seats in restaurants so that we can grow that tax."
The commission decided to postpone a decision until they can hear from the city's Town and Gown Committee, made up of members from city government and the university.
Heifner says the commission does have about $2 million in its reserve fund, and they plan to decide if any of that cash will go toward the performance hall at their next meeting on December 10.