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Ferguson Center for the Arts

Designed in collaboration with world-renowned architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed, the Ferguson Center for the Arts stands as a nexus for music, drama, and dance departments. This cultural hub boasts state-of-the-art performance, rehearsal, and educational facilities, fostering a dynamic cultural exchange.

The centerpiece, the Proscenium Theatre, accommodates 1,700 guests across three tiers, equipped with advanced technology to host a diverse array of events—from symphonies and operas to dance and musicals. Its orchestra pit is versatile, supporting everything from chamber groups to full opera orchestras, while the stage is enhanced by a fly tower and ample backstage areas for support. The Music and Theatre Hall, seating 440, offers a more personal experience for student showcases and smaller productions, with its adjustable acoustics and flexible staging. The Studio Theatre, the most adaptable venue with 150 seats, encourages creative experimentation in various formats, including end stage and theatre in the round, also serving as a versatile space for receptions and events with its adjoining Rehearsal Hall. 

Beyond these performance spaces, the Ferguson Center enriches the academic landscape with classrooms, music practice rooms, teaching studios, visual arts studios, and faculty offices. It also includes versatile areas for university and community events.

Since its inauguration, the Ferguson Center has contributed to a notable increase in the academic performance and enrollment of arts majors, underscoring CNU's burgeoning reputation in the arts. This esteemed project gained international recognition at a prestigious quadrennial celebration of performance and training spaces in Prague in 2007.

This is one of the more exciting things to happen in Newport News in a generation. It signals the transformation of the community as well as the university and the region. It is a world-class facility designed by world-class architects.”

– Newport News Mayor Joe Frank

  • Sector: Higher Education, Civic + Community
  • Scope: Architecture, Interior Design
  • Newport News, Virginia
  • 2005
  • 201,470 SF
  • Photos courtesy of © Robert Benson Photography
  • Walter Taylor Architectural Award, American Association of School Administrators, American Institute of Architects, and the Council of Educational Facility Planners, 2008
  • Design Citation, Educational Facility Design Awards, American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education, 2008
  • Louis I. Kahn Award, Grand Prize, Post-Secondary, American School & University Magazine, 2006
  • Grand Prize, College Planning & Management Magazine Education Design Showcase, 2006
  • Excellence in Design, Architecture, AIA HR, 2006
Project Team
Robert V. Reis
Design Principal
Christopher M. Charles
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Design Architect
Theatre Projects Consultants
Theatre Specialist
Kirkegaard & Associates
Acoustic Specialist
Thompson Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineering
Stroud Pence & Associates, Ltd.
Structural Engineering
AES Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineering