The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center was a dream created by many visionary civic leaders and the people of Midland and Odessa that will soon be a reality.
In May 2006, the Texas legislature authorized the expenditure of $45 million for construction of a performing arts facility as part of an arts, convocation and classroom building for The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB).Plans for the new venue called for it to be located adjacent to the UTPB Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (CEED) midway between Midland and Odessa at the intersection of State Highway 191 and FM 1788.
In February 2007, a Special Community Advisory Committee appointed by the UT System Board of Regents issued its report recommending an enhanced program that addressed the Committee's goals of achieving excellent acoustics, enhanced theater systems and facility finishes, and improving cultural and educational opportunities for the region. On April 20, 2007, the UT System announced the naming of the facility as The Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center after also announcing a combined gift of $10 million by Lissa and Cy Wagner of Midland, and the late Mrs. W. D. (Ellen) Noël of Odessa.
By June 2008, a total of $20 million had been pledged by generous Permian Basin donors in support of the project along with $6.5 million committed by the University of Texas System and an additional $7.5 million approved by the Texas Legislature during its 80th session. At the same time, a goal was established to provide a total of $89 million from all sources to fund construction and to fund an operating endowment fund of $8 million for the facility. Toward achieving that goal, it was announced that the University of Texas System would provide an additional $6 million if local donors would pledge or contribute an additional $4 million to the project.
Construction began in March, 2009 and the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center is currently scheduled to be completed in late 2011, with its gala opening event to take place during the first quarter of 2012.