Frisco ISD’s visual and performing arts center is one step closer to starting construction.

The district’s board members approved the guaranteed maximum price for the facility during a March 4 meeting, allowing no more than $54.94 million to be spent on the project.

“There has been so much care and love and thoughtful exploration that has gone into this project, and at the end of the day this is all for our kids,” board member Rene Archambault said. “To be able to have this before us is a huge win for Frisco ISD and for our tens of thousands of kids who are finding their voice throughout our fine arts department.”

The backstory

District voters approved a $691 million bond package in November 2018, with $43 million of that earmarked for a fine arts facility that includes an auditorium, gallery space, instructional training and office space, according to the district website.

The center will feature:
  • Approximately 1,200 seats with upper balcony seating
  • Two multipurpose rooms
  • Fine arts office suite
  • Art exhibit gallery
  • Back-of-house support spaces
Breaking down the cost

Inflation has increased approximately 33%-35% since 2018, said Allison Baker, project management director with Turner & Townsend Heery. With current inflation levels, the $43 million designated for the center in the bond would translate to about $60 million in 2024, she said.

“We have all seen what COVID[-19] has done; we have all seen the escalation and inflation,” Baker said. “No one expected that back in 2018 when this bond was passed.”

Money set aside for an elementary school in the district’s 2014 bond program will be used to cover construction and inflationary overages for the project, said Kimberly Smith, FISD’s chief finance and strategy officer. The district has the ability to repurpose the funds from one project to another, she said.

“There are no complexities and no concerns about using that repurposed money,” Smith said.

One more thing

The sale of $58 million in bond funds was approved by the board for the construction of the center. This covers $26 million from the district’s 2014 bond program, while $32 million is authorized from the 2018 bond program.

A groundbreaking for the visual and performing arts center is expected in four to eight weeks, which is dependent on permitting, Baker said.