FAYETTEVILLE — Louie Armstrong played there. So did Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Peter Paul and Mary.
Music was pumping at this old field house long ago — and it will again.
University of Arkansas officials will ask the UA Board of Trustees Friday (Sept.7) to approve plans to retrofit the university’s historic field house and turn it a state-of-the art performance hall. The board will also be asked to name it for Joyce and Jim Faulkner, who gave the lead gift of $6 million during a short ceremony on site at the field house Wednesday.
Total cost to refurbish the inside and maintain the outside stands at $17 million, with completion as early as 2015.
The Faulkners, both alumnae, are widely known for spreading their wealth across campus and beyond. They're considered significant donors to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.
In 2011, the Faulkners led the effort to buy new uniforms for the Razorback Band. All five of their children attended the UA.
“We believe because of the education that they received here, they have a better life today,” Joyce Faulkner said.
The newly renovated hall will offer seating for more than 650, compared to the 238 that can sit for a performance at the existing venue, Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.
UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart was optimistic that the measures before the board would pass but tagged his remarks with, “It’s not a done deal until it’s a done deal.”
Representatives from music, theater and visual art circles around town attended the announcement, curious about whether they could get stage space for their groups and troupes.