New Construction

WIU Secures $119M in State Funding for Arts Center

After more than ten years of waiting, construction has finally begun on a new Center for Performing Arts (CPA) on the campus of Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Local news reports that a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony took place in April 2011 but that, due to financial reasons, no forward movement on the project has occurred since then. That changed last week when Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker announced an investment of $119 million in the new facility as part of a bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

“Our Rebuild Illinois capital plan isn’t just about our roads and bridges; it’s about our universities, too,” said Pritzker at a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 7. “After nearly 50 years, I am thrilled that Western Illinois University will receive state funding for the construction of the Center for Performing Arts. This will not only provide WIU students with a state-of-the-art performance facility, but also give our western Illinois communities a place to gather and enjoy all that the arts have to offer.”

A university news release reports that the building will cover 100,000 square feet and feature a 900-seat Proscenium Theatre, as well as classrooms and practice rooms, offices and studios, and additional performance space including an intimate Black Box theater. The CPA is the university’s first state-funded building since the 1970s, and it will unite the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) under one roof.

“The Center for Performing Arts will cement the foundation of excellence that is performing arts at Western Illinois University,” said COFAC Dean Billy Clow. “When the center is complete, WIU will be the destination for arts and culture in our region and beyond. So many people have put their hearts and souls into this dream over the years, and the sight of bulldozers finally makes this dream a reality. From our current students to scores of future Leathernecks, this center will be the cornerstone of an outstanding educational experience at WIU.”

The university partnered with Cannon Design, Inc., as the architect-of-record and Pelli Clarke Pelli as the architectural design firm. River City Construction, LLC, will serve as the project’s general contractor.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].