MACOMB – April 26, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today joined state and school officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking on the $67.8 million Performing Arts Center at Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb. This is one of the largest university construction projects in the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, and construction work is expected to create approximately 400 jobs. The state’s investment will help WIU leverage a significant private donation to support the center’s operation.
“This project is an investment in the future of Western Illinois University, and in this region’s economy,” said Governor 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.”
The Performing Arts Center will include a 1,400-seat auditorium, a 250-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre; dance, jazz and theatre rehearsal studios; dressing rooms; a scenery/design workshop and costume shop; and a loading dock to accommodate large vehicles for touring companies and orchestras.
The design phase of the project is underway, with construction bids scheduled for later this year and completion in 2014. A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Silver certification will be sought for the project, a testament to its energy efficient and environmentally friendly design. The project is administered by the Capital Development Board (CDB), which manages all state-funded, non-road construction projects.
”The WIU Performing Arts Center has become a reality. I cannot thank enough our legislators, campus community and many friends, including Governor Pat Quinn, for their support of this cultural center, which will be an incredible asset to this region,” said WIU President Al Goldfarb, who is retiring this month.
“The Performing Arts Center project will employ hundreds of construction workers and provide enhanced educational opportunities for Western students once it’s complete,” said CDB Executive Director Jim Underwood. “This will be CDB’s largest ongoing construction project, and we are thrilled that Governor Quinn is moving it along.”
Joining Governor Quinn, Goldfarb and Underwood at today’s ceremonial groundbreaking were State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb), and Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead.