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Illinois Senate President Emil Jones and Sen. John Sullivan announced that Western Illinois University’s proposed Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Macomb will receive $4 million for the initial architectural and engineering planning for the proposed 110,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center. Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved the release of the planning funding in mid February.
“Senator Sullivan and I understand what a tremendous educational institution Western Illinois University is, and the important impact it has on its students and the entire state,” said Blagojevich. “The investment we are making in the Performing Arts Center will create a critical cultural attraction that people throughout the region so richly deserve.”
The Performing Arts Center will house a 1,900seat proscenium theatre auditorium, a 300-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre for student convocations, College of Fine Arts and Communication recitals, Bureau of Cultural Affairs performing arts series events, lectures, graduation ceremonies and local arts and civic functions. The total cost of the facility to be located in the southwest quadrant of campus is estimated to be $61,571,400.
“I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich for releasing the planning funds for this much-anticipated initiative on the WIU-Macomb campus. A Performing Arts Center on this campus will provide an even greater economic boost to the region through new jobs related to the center and tourism-related revenue,” Western President Goldfarb said. "The Performing Arts Center will also build on our exemplary fine arts programs and performances by providing a high quality venue for productions, performances, state competitions, conferences and more.”
Sullivan and Jones were on the WIU-Macomb campus Feb. 16 to meet with campus, community and local media members when the duo made the PAC announcement.
"It's nice to see this investment in WIU. This is a project that we have worked on for several years and has been number one on our agenda," Sullivan said. "While Rep. Rich Myers could not be here today, he played an integral part in this project and I know I speak for him as well when I say we are extremely pleased to announce the release of the preliminary funding to get the ball rolling."
Jones added that the combined efforts of President Goldfarb, Sen. Sullivan and others made the announcement a reality. “The community’s and University’s lobbying efforts helped keep this project in front of the Governor and many others,” Jones added. “It will be an incredible asset to this region.” Architectural renderings can be found at www.wiu.edu/president/pac/structure.shtml