WIU Breaks Ground for Performing Arts Center
April 26, 2011
MACOMB, IL – It was a grand day today (April 26) as the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Western Illinois University Performing Arts Center took place on the WIU-Macomb campus. In addition, a seven-figure bequest from retired WIU administrator Tate Lindahl to support the center's operation was announced.
Legislators, local organizations and campus and community members have worked together over the years to lobby for the center.
"Through partnerships and collaboration, the WIU Performing Arts Center has become a reality. I cannot thank enough our local legislators, our campus community and our many friends, Gov. Pat Quinn and Capital Development Director Jim Underwood for their support of this cultural center, which will be an incredible asset to this region. I would also like to recognize Tate Lindahl's generosity for, and support of, this project and Western Illinois University," noted WIU President Al Goldfarb.
"This project is an investment in the future of Western Illinois University, and in this region's economy," said Gov. Pat Quinn. "Not only will this project create jobs during construction, it will also enable WIU to increase its educational offerings and provide the people of Macomb with a state-of-the-art facility for music, dance and theater productions."
In Summer 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill for Illinois Jobs Now!, a jobs and capital construction plan, which provided $67.8 million in capital development funds for constructing the Performing Arts Center in Macomb.
"The Performing Arts Center project will employ hundreds of construction workers and provide enhanced educational opportunities for Western students once it's complete, helping them get better jobs as well," said CDB Executive Director Jim Underwood. "This will be CDB's largest ongoing construction project, and we are thrilled that Gov. Quinn is moving it along."
The Performing Arts Center, which has been designed by the architectural/design firms of Pelli Clarke Pelli of New Haven, CT and O'Donnell, Wicklund, Pigozzi, and Peterson (OWP/P) of Chicago and Phoenix, AZ, will include a 1,400-seat proscenium theatre auditorium with two balconies, a 250-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre. There also will be dance, jazz and theatre rehearsal studios; dressing rooms adjacent to the theatres; a scenery/design workshop and a costume shop; administration offices; and a loading dock which will accommodate semis and buses for professional touring companies and orchestras.
"This facility will not only be a cultural landmark for the region, but an academic facility worthy of our excellent students and faculty. The facility will provide much needed instructional and performance spaces for the Department of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music," said College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean Paul Kreider. "We are excited to be working with our exceptional design team partners to realize a facility that will serve the region's people as well as Western Illinois University."
The new facility, which has been designed with five welcoming "fronts," creates a new "arts" quadrangle between the Browne Hall/PAC building, Memorial, Simpkins and Corbin halls.
"This is a great day for Macomb and Western Illinois University. Lobbying for the Performing Arts Center has been a true community-university effort, and further demonstrates the collaboration that is essential between a town and a university," said Mayor Mick Wisslead. "I'd like to thank everyone for coming together to rally for this center."
The construction documents will be designed by OWP&P of Chicago. Staff will develop the technical documents that will be used to bid the project and to build the Performing Arts Center.
"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 Performing Arts Center 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 honor to join President Goldfarb at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Western Illinois University Performing Arts Center. This project began as a vision of the WIU Board of Trustees in 2001. 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 Myers all played a pivotal role in this project."
To view architect's renderings of the Performing Arts Center, visit wiu.edu/university_planning/masterplanpac.php.