On Monday, February 4, students, alumni and supporters dedicated the new Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts campus in downtown Houston. Long-awaited and highly-anticipated, the permanent new home of Kinder HSPVA was inaugurated with a ribbon cutting, entertainment and performances by students, and remarks by the school’s principal Dr. R. Scott Allen and HISD board members in the campus’ stunning 800-seat main gathering space, the Ruth Denney Theatre.
The completed 168,000-square-foot Kinder HSPVA campus opened to students on January 7. The February 4 grand opening ceremony offered a chance to reflect on the three-year construction project which puts Houston’s diverse and talented fine arts students in the heart of the city’s theater district.
A dream come true for faculty, students and alumni, the campus boasts a dramatic main entrance with two-story glass windows; five stories of classroom space; a secondary studio theater; a black box theater; a dance and music studio; a fitness center; an art gallery; and ample practice and performance space. The campus was designed by architect Gensler and construction led by contractor McCarthy.
The development of the new HSPVA campus was made possible through HISD’s voter-approved 2012 Bond Program and unprecedented philanthropic support cultivated by HSPVA Friends, the non-profit dedicated to raising funds for the school. In 2016, the Kinder Foundation made a lead gift of $7.5 million toward HSPVA Friends’ $10 million capital campaign. According to Foundation Chairman Rich Kinder: “We hope these joint and cooperative efforts preserve the long-term future of one of Houston’s most acclaimed and diverse schools and forges a new path through public/private partnership to support future HISD schools.”
The Foundation’s grant ensured students would receive the best arts education in a state-of-the-art campus outfitted with quality theater lighting, seats, and a sound system. The remainder of the foundation’s gift will support the campus’ capital expenses through 2029.
For the momentous occasion, Rich and Nancy Kinder joined school dignitaries with whom they have worked for nearly a decade – since becoming enthralled by the students’ performances at Discovery Green’s 2008 ‘One for Doc’ concert – to actively support the school through the non-profit Friends.