(May 14, 2019) KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Avila University celebrated a major milestone today by breaking ground on the $7 million renovation and expansion of the Goppert Performing Arts Center on its South Kansas City campus.
The improved performing arts space is a boon for Avila undergraduate students, 23 percent of which participate in the performing arts through curricular and co-curricular activities. Additionally, more than 20 community groups and an estimated 14,000 community members annually utilize or attend a performance in the existing Goppert Theatre.
“Theatre and the performing arts are important parts of the Avila experience for our students and our community,” Avila President Ron Slepitza said. “The Goppert Performing Arts Center will allow us to serve both groups, while also expanding our capacity to educate the many community groups that utilize the current Goppert Theatre. It is an exciting addition to our campus.”
Straub Construction, the project’s general contractor, began work in early April in advance of the 14-month project. The additional space will house increased rehearsal space, an expanded 200-seat black box theatre and a new stage shop for stage design production.
“The new performing arts center will allow Avila performing arts to take our programming to the next level,” said Charlene Gould, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and professor of theatre. “Our educational experience will closely mirror the theatre world with this renovation, giving our students exposure to professional-level facilities and practices.”
In addition to theatre performances, the new facilities will provide additional resources for the other programs in Avila’s school of performing arts, including voice performance, collaborative piano and others.
“Singers, actors and instrumentalists will benefit significantly from this construction project,” said Amity Bryson, DMA, music department chair and professor of music. “I am thrilled to see a great deal of planning, hard work and donor support become a reality.”
The project was made possible by a generous lead gift from Vita Goppert, an Avila alumna and benefactor. Avila alumni and friends contributed the remaining funds which will see the project through to completion.
Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.