Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories on the renovation of TJC’s Wise Auditorium and the creation of the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center. Throughout the next 18 months, periodic updates will be provided.
Tyler Junior College has started renovation of Wise Auditorium. Since the June 19 groundbreaking ceremony, crews have installed fencing around the perimeter of the construction zone for safety, and work inside Wise Auditorium has begun with the removal of old fixtures and wiring.
For almost 40 years, one of the most familiar sights at Tyler Junior College has been the “Geese in Flight” fountain in the heart of the TJC Cultural Arts District. Although the geese have temporarily migrated for the construction season, those same geese will return to fly at TJC when the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center is completed.
The original fountain was created as part of the Wise Cultural Arts Center, which was completed in 1979 and named for TJC benefactors Emma and Watson Wise. Wise Auditorium was originally opened in 1956 and funded in part through a gift from Watson Wise. The fountain, located between the two facilities, has long been a meeting place, a photo opportunity and a resting spot for those walking across campus.
The geese are being restored in preparation for their new position in a freshly designed plaza fountain. The new fountain will honor the legacy water feature that was home to the geese for almost four decades.
“The ‘Geese in Flight’ fountain is a well-known icon of TJC and of the TJC Cultural Arts District,” said TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia. “It was only natural that they would be incorporated into the design of the new center’s plaza.”
“The architects have taken extra care in designing the new fountain to be sure it complements the wonderful performing arts center,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Mitch Andrews. “We know everyone will enjoy seeing the geese continue to fly in the beautiful new plaza for the Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center.”
Completion of the project is expected in early 2021.