A fundraising push to raise $100 million ahead of a Jan. 1 deadline for the future performing arts center at Hall Park is now underway.
The HEARTS Project was unveiled in an Aug. 24 luncheon hosted by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce with arts patron Sandra Moon serving as chairperson. The acronym stands for the Hall Group, education and the arts, city officials said. Mayor Jeff Cheney, Frisco ISD Superintendent Mike Waldrip and Hall Group President Don Braun participated in a Q&A panel detailing how the public-private partnership came to fruition.
“The Frisco way is to go bigger and better,” Cheney said. “I do think there's opportunity for that—whether it's better finishings, better acoustics, a floor that can go down to multiuse and really kind of define what the private component is going to be.”
Agreements between the city, school district and Hall Group call for a $67 million performing arts center at Hall Park. The agreement also includes a parking garage and a 5.7-acre park linking the future facility with The Star in Frisco. FISD is using $43 million in bond funds that were approved by district voters in 2018 alongside $14 million from the city and $10 million from Hall Group founder Craig Hall.
Funds collected by the HEARTS Project will go toward auxiliary upgrades to the arts center, potentially including a restaurant and/or bistro, a jumbotron facing The Star, a VIP arts club and more, according to the campaign website. Certain agreement details for the performing arts center are fixed, such as a 1,500-seat maximum.
Braun said the team behind the performing arts center hopes to seize the opportunity, creating the best facility possible that will endure for years to come.
Hall Park is undergoing major renovations, demolishing buildings less than 10 years old to make way for new projects, according to Braun. He said Hall Group’s original intention was to center the office complex around the 5.7-acre park to create a bridge to The Star and Frisco Station.
The performing arts center is the “cherry on top,” Braun said, serving as a “poetic” unity of arts and athletics "that just makes sense."
“This is once in a multi-, multi-, multi-generation opportunity,” Braun said. “We're not coming back in four years or 30 years and saying, ‘Hey, can we build a newer, better performing arts center?’ This is it.”
Waldrip said the district is focused on continually enhancing experiences for the 81% of district students involved in fine arts.
The district plans to use the facility for 150-170 days of student programming, the remainder of which could be used for nonschool programming, he said. Waldrip said he described a scene of yellow buses and adolescents crowding at Hall Park to Hall, who replied that it was not a problem.
“You want a comprehensive education for your kids when you send them to school,” Waldrip said. “You think about our kids playing in Toyota Stadium, in The Star and things like that and the experience that is. Some of them, when they go off to college after that, they have to take a step down.”
Construction on the new park is set to begin in September, Braun said, with the design phase of the performing arts center beginning in January. Work on the performing arts center is set to begin next year.
Visit www.heartsproject.org for more information on the campaign.