Governor JB Pritzker joins state and local WIU officials to announce funding for the Center for Performing Arts


MACOMB (WGEM) – Governor JB Pritzker joined state and local officials on Friday to announce a $119 million investment to build a Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) at Western Illinois University .

Rendering of the Western Illinois University Center for the Performing Arts(WUI)

“It’s been too long since we really invested in modernizing our universities,” Pritzker said.

The 100,000 square foot building will include classrooms, offices, practice rooms, studios, performance spaces and the Great Hall, which is an 850-seat Proscenium theater.

Brianna Congro, a music therapy student, said having one space rather than floating around campus in multiple buildings will create a better learning environment for prospective students.

“We’ll have a lot of practice rooms,” Congro said. “That way we won’t have to keep knocking on doors asking ‘Is your hour up? Can we practice?

The performing arts faculty said the most recent upgrade will be attractive to budding artists with the end goal of increasing enrollment.

“We worked on it,” said Billy Clow, dean of fine arts and communications. “Working on the lineup, the changes and as it was delayed, we kept updating the technology and everything, and then we get here today, to finally innovate and get ready to go.”

Music therapy senior Grace Anne Prince said she was sad to miss the new center but would still hang out on campus after graduation.

“Just to see it,” Prince said. “I’m really excited to see the ensembles perform.”

The faculty said they expect the Performing Arts Center to open in the fall.

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