Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the outcome from the Oct. 14 City Council meeting.
The planned Visual and Performing Arts Center on Lewis and Frazier streets in Conroe took another step in its development.
At an Oct. 13 workshop, City Council discussed the nomination of architecture firm Studio Red, which has an office in Houston. According to downtown manager Frank Robinson, the initial phase of planning and analysis would cost $110,000, which would come out of the city’s general fund. The council approved the first phase of the plan at the Oct. 14 meeting.
“We’ve had so many interests, over 17 different organizations, expressing their desire for a place for the performing and visual arts,” Robinson said.
Studio Red architect Pete Garrett was also in attendance and explained his history to the council. According to Robinson’s proposal filed with the city, Garrett has worked on performing arts venue projects including the Lone Star College Visual & Performing Arts Center, and the Houston Baptist Cultural Arts Center in Houston.
“In this first phase, we would like to bring in a program of all the different arts groups [that could use the center] and make a marriage to the old school building,” Garrett said.
The center would convert the old Sam Houston Elementary School that the city purchased earlier in 2021, according to the proposal. Garrett said that Studio Red had previously worked with converting former school buildings into arts studios, and was “excited” to do so again.
Community Impact Newspaper previously reported that the city had explored the possibility of its own arts center as far back as 2019, though discussions involving the school building only began in 2021. Robinson said 10 architecture firms had toured the building and submitted proposals to the city.
Council Member Marsha Porter told Garrett the city’s arts community was “ecstatic” at the possibility of a new arts center.