Center for Performing Arts construction funding released, work underway at WIU

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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A groundbreaking was held Oct. 7 at the Western Illinois University-Macomb campus where construction is now underway to build a Center for Performing Arts.

River City Construction, LLC, of Peoria has been selected as the general contractor and the Capital Development Board will oversee the project’s design and construction.

Cannon Design, Inc. is the architect-of-record overseeing construction, while Pelli Clarke Pelli is the architectural design firm. The building is expected to be completed by Fall 2024.

“As a central Illinois based contractor, River City Construction (RCC) is thrilled to have been selected to build the new Center for Performing Arts at Western Illinois University. The project is an extension of our longstanding relationship in support of the State of Illinois and the Capital Development Board,” said Andrew Cook, RCC construction director.

“Construction of this state-of-the art facility will have a significant economic impact on our region, and once complete will serve as a regional destination for the performing arts. Construction of such a facility is truly a team effort, and on behalf of our subcontractor and vendor partners, and our skilled labor force, we are excited to get to work with the CDB, Western Illinois University and the Cannon Design team to turn blueprints into reality.”

The project is included in the Rebuild Illinois capital plan. Due to increased construction costs – which recently came in at $110 million, the CDB has agreed to leverage funding from another project on WIU’s priority request list.

“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,” Governor Pritzker said at the groundbreaking.

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.

“We look forward to watching the building construction progress and anxiously await the day we can celebrate the grand opening,” WIU President Guiyou Huang.

“The Center for Performing Arts will enhance Western’s academic distinction and provide our region with contemporary music, dance, and theatre facilities. This is a true investment for WIU and west-central Illinois.”

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