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UCA Celebrates Topping Out of Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts

The University of Central Arkansas celebrated another milestone event today with the topping out ceremony for the Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

The university broke ground on the Windgate Center in October. Made possible by a $20 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, it will provide almost 100,000 square feet of much-needed classroom, studio, rehearsal and design spaces. The open-concept arts center will include a creative quad and sculpture garden, a first-class art gallery, a 175-seat black box theater equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and a 450-seat concert hall which will be the only one-room, open-concept venue in central Arkansas.

Employees, alumni and friends signing the topping out beam

“This cutting-edge facility will foster partnerships and interdisciplinary collaboration across multiple academic disciplines, fuel the state’s creative economy and draw in arts enthusiasts from across the region to Conway and to UCA,” said President Houston Davis.

 “We are especially grateful to our many donors and to our Board of Trustees for their vision and support in making this exceptional facility a reality for our students and faculty.”

Board of Trustees Chair Kay Hinkle

UCA President Houston Davis

Gifts to the building project for the Windgate Center are honored through the naming of specific spaces within the facility. These named spaces will remain for the life of the building. Those interested in making a gift to the building or to student scholarships can contact Greg Weber, director of development, at or (415) 404-5339.

The topping out event is part of the university’s $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, UCA Now: Impact Arkansas and Beyond. The campaign began its quiet phase in June 2016 and will conclude in July 2024.

The celebration included attendees adding their signature on the topping out beam and enjoying a cookout provided by Baldwin & Shell Construction Company.

In addition to Davis, other speakers included Kay Hinkle, chair of the UCA Board of Trustees; Mary Bane Lackie, vice president for University Advancement; and Scott Copas, president and CEO of Baldwin & Shell.

The topping out ceremony dates back to Scandinavian or Viking tradition to mark a milestone in construction. An evergreen tree is placed at the topmost part of the framework or skeleton of a building to commemorate the successful construction of the building.