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WIU President Jack Thomas thanks Gov. Pat Quinn for the release of The Center for Performing Arts funding. Gov. Quinn was on the WIU campus today to make the announcement.
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Quinn Releases Center for Performing Arts Funding

April 23, 2014

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MACOMB, IL -- Gov. Pat Quinn announced today (April 23) the release of $60 million for the construction of Western Illinois University's The Center for Performing Arts (CPA) in Macomb. Quinn made the announcement at an event on the Macomb campus.

"We are elated that Gov. Quinn has released the full funding for the construction of The Center for Performing Arts in Macomb," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "We are excited about beginning construction on this new facility that will benefit our students, faculty and staff, as well as the region. We want to thank President Emeritus Al Goldfarb who worked tirelessly in obtaining the funding for this project prior to his retirement. We also want to thank our local and regional legislators, businesses, alumni, friends, donors, the General Assembly and the governor for their continued support."

The $71.8 million capital project is funded by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB). While the CDB funded the renovation of Memorial Hall on the Macomb campus and the construction of the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus, a new building on Western's Macomb campus has not been funded through the state since the Leslie F. Malpass Library in the 1970s.

"The Center for Performing Arts will increase Western's educational offerings and provide Macomb with a state-of-the-art music, dance and theater production facility," Quinn said. "This is an investment in the school's future, and the hundreds of construction jobs it will create is an investment in the region's economy."

The Center for Performing Arts was first approved in December 2002, when the Illinois Board of Higher Education recommended a $22.5 million FY'04 appropriation for partial CPA construction funding. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in April 2011.

"This is a moment that will change the history of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, Western Illinois University and arts across the region. We are honored to be here at this moment in time and thankful to Gov. Quinn and the State of Illinois for their support for this landmark project," said Billy Clow, College of Fine Arts and Communication dean. "The CPA will provide an outstanding space for our students and faculty, and will serve as a cultural center for the region."

The construction document phase has been completed. Upon release of funding, the Capital Development Board will send construction documents to prospective bidders. Construction is anticipated to begin in Spring 2015.

"It was truly a personal honor to serve as a lead sponsor and as a lead negotiator of the 2009 capital bill that appropriated the funding for this long-awaited project. The Center for Performing Arts will not only create short-term construction jobs, it will also further solidify WIU's role as a cultural center for western Illinois and serve as an economic development engine," said Sen. John Sullivan.

"It is my pleasure to join Governor Quinn, President Thomas, members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees and community members for this announcement of the release of the funding for the Western Illinois University Center for Performing Arts. Thanks to the tireless efforts of administrators, faculty, community members and the State of Illinois, this vision will be a reality," said State Rep. Norine Hammond. "Senators Dillard, Donahue, Lightford, Sieben and Sullivan, together with Representatives Kosel, Mitchell, O'Brien, Osmond and in particular, Representative Rich Myers, all played a pivotal role in this project."

The Center for Performing Arts (formerly called the Performing Arts Center), which will support the academic mission and programs in the College of Fine Arts and Communication, will include a 1,400-seat proscenium theatre auditorium with two balconies, a 250-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre.

"I am so excited and pleased that the construction funds for Western's Center for Performing Arts are being released," said President Emeritus Al Goldfarb. "The center has been a dream of the Western Illinois community for more than three decades and I want to thank Gov. Quinn and President Thomas for making it a reality."

There also will be dance, jazz and theatre rehearsal studios to facilitate the academic mission of the building, which complements numerous academic programs; dressing rooms adjacent to the theatres; a scenery/design workshop and a costume shop; a box office; administration offices; and a loading dock that will accommodate semis and buses for professional touring companies and orchestras.

"This is a great day for Macomb and Western Illinois University. Lobbying for The Center for Performing Arts has been a true community-university effort, and further demonstrates the collaboration that is essential between a town and a university," said Mayor Mike Inman. "I'd like to thank everyone for coming together to rally for this center, especially those individual benefactors who joined us here today."

The CPA, which will be located on the southwest side of campus along Western Avenue, will connect to Browne Hall and consolidate performance spaces close to classrooms in Brown, Memorial and Sallee halls. The newly renovated Corbin Hall is adjacent to the center and includes a Fine Arts Floor for students to complete the living and learning aspect of an arts quad.

"The Center for Performing Arts project will create hundreds of construction jobs over two and a half years, and we look forward to working with the skilled trades people that will make this marvelous facility a reality," CDB Director Jim Underwood said.

The CPA will also include several naming opportunities, including the performance venues, rehearsal spaces, the gallery, scene shop, lounges, VIP room and green rooms. Individuals may also purchase naming rights to seats in the proscenium and thrust theatres.

In 2011, the WIU Foundation announced that Tate Lindahl, a retired WIU administrator and Macomb resident, had arranged for a seven-figure bequest in his estate plans to assist in the maintenance of the center. In 2013, alumni Kenneth and Lorraine Epperson pledged a seven-figure gift for the center. The 5,000 square-foot iconic lobby will be named in their honor.

To view architect's renderings of The Center for Performing Arts, visit

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