Virginia Tech names the performance hall within its new Center for the Arts
Virginia Tech has named the performance hall within its Center for the Arts in honor of two couples – Nicholas and Fay Street of Bristol and William C. "Jack" and Sandra Davis of Blacksburg – in recognition of their philanthropic support of the center's construction.
The Street and Davis Performance Hall's approximately 84,000 square feet contain much of the newly constructed portion of the Center for the Arts, a roughly $97 million project at the northeastern edge of campus. The 150,000-square-foot center also includes the former Shultz Hall, which has been extensively renovated.
"The Center for the Arts is a transformative project for our university and brings a tremendous new asset this region of Virginia," Vice President for Development and University Relations Elizabeth "Betsy" Flanagan said. "We are extremely grateful to the Street and Davis families for their generous participation in this substantial investment in the arts, which is helping make us an even more comprehensive institution."
"This entire project is really a collaborative effort," added Ruth Waalkes, the university's associate provost for the arts and the center's executive director. "There is funding from the university and funding from the state, but the private funding that is going into this building is significant, and these gifts from the Streets and Davises have been particularly meaningful for us."
Both of the couples for whom the performance hall has been named had extensive histories of supporting Virginia Tech as donors and volunteers even before the gifts that prompted the naming. The Streets and Davises are members of the President’s Circle within the Ut Prosim Society, a select group of the university's most generous donors.
The Davises served on the National Campaign Steering Committee for the university's past fundraising campaign. Sandra Davis has also served on the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund Executive Committee, Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, Virginia Tech Foundation Development Committee, and the W.E. Skelton 4-H Educational Conference Center at Smith Mountain Lake Board of Directors.
"Watching the performance hall going up this past three years has been wonderful, and we're thrilled to see it approaching the realization of the dreams of all of us who have been associated with it," said Jack Davis, who is executive director of the university's Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. "This center is going to bring incalculable benefits to the university and to Blacksburg, and it's going to be a cultural and economic dynamo for the town and the region. Having attended performances in halls all across the country and abroad, I can say beyond question that this is a world class facility in every way – design, construction, and most of all attention to the audience experience. Performers are going to love coming to this hall, and we're going to love what they do here."
The Streets also served on the National Campaign Steering Committee, and have served on many other boards or committees, including the Class of 1953 Reunion Committee, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors, and the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund Board of Directors.
"We believe this center will contribute a great deal to the university experience for all students by adding a world-class arts component to the mix," said Fay Street, an attorney who earned her bachelor's of finance in 1977 from what is now Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business. "It also adds to the appeal of living or working in Southwest Virginia, which helps the entire region."
Along with the center's main theater, the performance hall contains extensive support space and the facility's main lobby areas. All of those areas will open this fall. Center administrators are scheduling a week of opening activities for late October. The first performance in the main theater, featuring the composer Philip Glass and the Philip Glass Ensemble, is scheduled for Nov. 1. The roster of performances for the building's first season will be released in a matter of days, Waalkes said.