Governor Pat Quinn announced a $54 million capital investment to build a Fine Arts Complex that will strengthen Illinois State University’s renowned arts programs and create 775 construction jobs.
“This investment means Illinois State University will be able to build on its excellent reputation in the fine arts while creating hundreds of good jobs in Normal,” the governor said on Founders Day on February 21. “Higher education is a powerful force for growth in Illinois. We all benefit when our universities have the facilities to engage and educate our young people, whether the field is art, accounting or engineering.”
The Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program will provide $54.25 million for the Fine Arts Complex, starting with $7.5 million for design and planning. The project includes renovation of existing buildings and construction of space for instruction and performance. It will create more than 775 construction and related jobs, and spending by those workers will support an additional 775 jobs in the community.
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Quinn for his perseverance in bringing this project to Illinois State,” said President Al Bowman. “The College of Fine Arts offers first-class programs with outstanding faculty, staff and students who deserve first-class facilities.”
The new complex will replace or renovate three buildings: Centennial East, Centennial West, both constructed in 1959, and the Center for Visual Arts, constructed in 1973. The College of Fine Arts includes art, music, theater and dance and arts technology. It serves more than 1,100 students with 160 faculty and staff members, and 40 fields of study.
The next step toward a new complex is hiring an architectural and engineering firm to design it with input from faculty, staff members and students in conjunction with the state’s Capital Development Board.
“This project is a great example of what the Illinois Jobs Now! program can accomplish,” said Jim Underwood, the Capital Development Board’s executive director. “It will create good jobs while strengthening Illinois State University. With the leadership of Governor Quinn and the guidance of ISU administrators, we’re going to build a complex that will benefit students for years to come.”
“The footprint for the Fine Arts Complex is large, and considerable University community input will be required to best match evolving academic, programmatic and performance requirements with the available space and resources for this important project,” said Dan Layzell, vice president for Finance and Planning. “We will also begin discussing how to best maintain College of Fine Arts operations during the construction process.”
“This is thrilling news for all College of Fine Arts faculty, staff and students, as well as our alumni and visitors,” said James Major, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The construction project will have a significant positive impact on our ability to recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff members, and motivated students.”