Groundbreaking for new performing arts center on WIU Macomb campus

Western Illinois University Performing Arts Center rendering
Western Illinois University Performing Arts Center rendering(WIU)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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MACOMB, Ill. (KWQC) - A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held Fri., Oct. 7 for the new Center for Performing Arts on the Western Illinois University campus in Macomb. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other leaders attended the event.

The project, which has been in the works for years, is being funded through the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan recently approved.

“Our Rebuild Illinois capital plan isn’t just about our roads and bridges, it’s about our universities too,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “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.”

The 100,000-square-foot building will include classrooms, offices, practice rooms, studios and performance spaces. The Great Hall, a 900-seat Proscenium Theatre, will provide an ultramodern performance space for music, theatre and dance productions as well as regional and national touring performances, while the smaller Black Box theatre will provide a more intimate space for campus productions.

The center has been the number one priority on the Western’s capital development list since 2006 and has been in some form of planning since December 1972. It is the first state-funded building for WIU in Macomb since the 1970s and will allow the College of Fine Arts and Communication to consolidate into a more centralized location.

Construction actually began Sept. 1. The building is expected to be completed by Fall 2024.