Magnificent Tobin Center Dedicated in Stirring Ceremony

September 4, 2014
To the stirring strains of Handel's 'Music for the Royal Fireworks,' the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated today, on the site of the old Municipal Auditorium on the north edge of downtown, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"It is my high honor and privilege to dedicate the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in the name of the people of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the State of Texas," said Bruce Bugg, who headed the Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation.

About a thousand people were on hand simply to hear speeches and attend the dedication.The Center will be officially opened tonight, with a first ever joint performance by the San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Opera, and San Antonio Ballet.

"Today, on the banks of the San Antonio River, we dedicate a building for the ages," Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

Back in 2007, Wolff and then Mayor Phil Hardberger conceived of the idea to construct a performing arts center on the site of the Auditorium, incorporating the famous Moorish front of the 1925 Auditorium, but with a super high tech theater inside.

"Standing here today is almost like being in a dream," Mayor Ivy Taylor said."This beautiful and innovative building, the way San Antonio has embraced the importance of the arts to our community's future, and the way the public and private sectors have pulled together."

Some $100 million of the roughly $203 million cost of the Tobin Center was raised in the 2008 Venue Tax Extension bond issue.The city donated the Auditorium and the land the complex sits on, and private investors plowed more than $50 million into the endeavor.

The Tobin Foundation, which was started by oil industry heir Robert Tobin and is currently managed by Bugg, who was Tobin's long time friend and attorney, donated $15 million for the naming rights to the Center.As a young man, Tobin worked in the theater and actually received a gold union card from the Stagehand's Union, which Bugg said he treasured his entire life.

Ironically, Tobin's uncle, Mayor John Tobin, dedicated the Municipal Auditorium in 1925.

Wolff said today's ceremony says a lot about the nation's seventh largest city.

"We send a message across the land that San Antonio has made a cultural investment that will bind our entire community in the celebration of the arts," Wolff said.