Groundbreaking ceremony kicks off renovation of the Virginia Callan Welder Performance Annex

Members of Victoria College’s Board of Trustees were joined by VC administrators, VC Foundation Board and Welder Center Advisory Board members, and community leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Virginia Callan Welder Performance Annex in July.

A celebratory groundbreaking ceremony took place on Wednesday, July 27 to mark the commencement of renovations to the Virginia Callan Welder Performance Annex in downtown Victoria.

The century-old properties are located at 103-109 W. Goodwin and were acquired by the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts in 2004. The renovations will allow the Welder Center, which was acquired by Victoria College in 2013, to expand its footprint and offerings in downtown Victoria.

Bland Proctor, chair of Victoria College’s Board of Trustees, welcomed local community members to the ceremony and briefed attendees on the historical significance of naming the building.

“A suggestion was made by the O’Connor & Hewitt Foundation to have the building immediately adjacent to the Leo J. Welder Center named after Leo Welder’s beloved wife, Virginia,” said Proctor. “It is just appropriate, and it’s fitting. The two of them together have gained such admiration and respect for their vivacious personalities and their commitment to public service as it pertains to education.”

Renovations to the Virginia Callan Welder Performance Annex will begin with the exterior in January 2023 followed by interior renovations. The space is projected to accommodate up to 150 guests at roundtables or 300 individuals in auditorium-style seating.

“We are excited about this opportunity to advance Victoria College’s cultural affairs work within the community with additional space for those utilizing the Welder Center for a place to rehearse, a place to celebrate and a place to gather,” said Jennifer Kent, VC president.

Funding for the project was provided in part by emergency supplemental funding from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Texas Historical Commission. The O’Connor & Hewitt Foundation provided a matching donation, and additional funding was provided by a Victoria Main Street Program Downtown Façade Grant.