University News

IBHE Recommends Funding For Western Performing Arts Center

December 11, 2002

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Macomb, IL - - The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved FY04 budget recommendations which include a $22.5 million FY04 appropriation to Western Illinois University for partial funding for construction of a performing arts center on Western’s campus. Western’s Performing Arts Center project is 14th on the statewide priority listing submitted by IBHE to the Governor and Illinois General Assembly.

The proposed 110,000 gross square foot center will include a 1,900-seat proscenium theatre, a 300-seat thrust stage theatre and a 150-seat black box seat theatre with supporting facilities for a total cost of $49 million. The IBHE FY04 budget recommends a 3.7 percent increase in operating funds for Western next year. The funds to support the increase would come from state tax support and tuition revenues.

“The high placement of the Performing Arts Center project on the IBHE capital list indicates strong support for this project in challenging budget times,” said Western President Al Goldfarb. “We are pleased that along with the recommendation for partial funding in FY04 the IBHE has documented the need to set aside funds in a future budget year for the remainder of the funds to construct the facility.”

The IBHE recommended an operating budget of $98,849,700 for Western in FY04. Western’s FY03 budget was $95,319,000, less than the FY02 operating budget of $95,639,800. Approximately $1.95 million of the FY04 allocation has been committed toward the State's group health insurance program in accordance with a ruling put in place during the FY02 budget year. A state funding increase of 2.4 percent is estimated. Western’s Board of Trustees will review tuition levels for the Fall 2003 incoming class at its March 2003 meeting. Under Western’s cost guarantee, continuing students pay the same rate for tuition, fees and room and board from the time they enroll through four years of continuous attendance. The additional new funds would be used for faculty and staff salary increases, to recruit and retain critical faculty and staff and to enhance the student experience.

Final budget action will take place during the legislative session which begins in January 2003.

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