NOTE: Due to extreme heat in the forecast Wednesday, the ceremony will take place indoors at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 in the SMSU South.

A new Performing Arts Center is making its way to the Cal State San Bernardino campus, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 11 a.m. on the John M. Pfau Library lawn.

The new 73,337 square-foot Performing Arts Center will have a 500-seat theater and music instruction space, and will be located south of the existing Performing Arts Building. The $126,907,000  construction project is scheduled to open during the 2024-25 academic year.

Chair of the theatre arts department, Terry Donovan Smith, will welcome attendees to the ceremony, followed by a land acknowledgement by Robert Levi, the university’s elder/culture bearer in-residence. CSUSB President Tomás D Morales; Rafik Mohamed, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Sam Sudhakar, chief information officer and vice president for Information Technology Services; Robert Nava, vice president for University Advancement; and Rueyling Chuang, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, will give their remarks during the event.

The center will provide modern teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces necessary for a modern performing arts program. Creating a new 500-seat performing arts theater will allow the university to provide a more equitable educational experience that reflects the excellence of the theater arts and music programs at CSUSB. At completion, the theater will be the only one of its size and quality in the Inland Empire, and will allow more of the area’s community to experience the highly acclaimed productions from CSUSB student-performers and student-musicians. The building will also create a new “front door” to the campus that shows a modern and forward-looking face to visitors and the larger community.

The project’s architect is the Los Angeles office of HGA Architects, and the general contractor is the Los Angeles office of Rudolph and Sletten. 

The Performing Arts Center is the first new state-funded academic building on campus under CSUSB’s current master plan. In September 2017, the CSU Board of Trustees approved the updated CSUSB physical campus master plan with an enrollment ceiling increase from 20,000 to 25,000 full-time equivalent students. This change recognized the increasing demand for higher education in the Inland Empire, the fastest growing region in the nation according to the 2010 U.S. census.

With the support of the Board of Trustees, CSUSB began implementing the campus master plan first through the completion of a 400-bed student housing and dining commons in 2018, the Center for Global Innovation building in 2019, and most recently with the Santos Manuel Student Union expansion project, which had its grand opening earlier this year.