First look inside the Tobin Center for Performing Arts

July 25, 2014
SAN ANTONIO Several big-name performers like Paul McCartney and Jason Mraz will soon take the stage at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts but before they do, Eyewitness News got a tour inside the building.

Construction began in 2009 for the new building to replace the former, municipal building. The center will have three, separate performance theaters. The largest one is called the HEB performance hall. The other two are set for smaller performances. The CEO of the Tobin Center, Mike Fresher, says the project cost $205 million, raised by private and public organizations.

"That includes the construction, the Riverwalk Medal of Honor Walk, the plaza and the portal down in the Riverwalk," said Fresher.

The center says $9 million was spent on the electronic convertible floor for the HEB performance hall.

"What you can't see is that every single row lifts up by itself individually and the chairs can either be set or they will flip over. Hang like bats, if you will, under the floor and drop down to be completely flat," said Aaron Zimmerman, senior director of marketing and communication.

Zimmerman says the convertible floor will be the first one constructed in the United States and the second in North

America. He says with the chairs, the theatre seats 1,759 people and when the floor is collapsed, it seats 2,100 people.

The other features inside the theater are the LED panels. Zimmerman says the pattern engraved on the wood is the same design from the municipal auditorium. He says there are also, specific panels on the stage for acoustics.

"If you look at the four back panels on the back of the stage, those are actually the orchestra shells. So, when the symphony is performing, those panels will come out and it creates a tight seal around the symphony to be able to perform," said Zimmerman.

The first public performance will be September 4th. Zimmerman says there will be ballet, opera and symphony performances at the dedication.

By Sharon Ko