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School of Visual and Performing Arts Building Breaks Ground in Fall

It’s been 20 years since Western administrators and professors began to think about constructing a building to house theater, art and music programs on campus.

This fall, workers finally will break ground on the $80 million building, scheduled to open in 2014 with a 337-seat concert hall, a 330-seat theater, design studios and an art gallery.

For the first time, acting students, painters and graphic artists, musicians and singers will gather in one location designed for their needs.

While WCSU is already known for its art and performance programs — Western is the only one of the four Connecticut State Universities with a School for Visual and Performing Arts — the hope is that the new building will have the same effect as the Science Building that opened in 1995. Since then, the number of science majors at Western has increased more than 50 percent.

The building, which will rise on the Westside campus, also will provide opportunities for philanthropy.
Plans are being developed for patrons to name the building, its facilities and even the seats in the theaters.
As Sal Trapani, chair of the Theater Arts Department, said the day the financing for the building was announced, “It’s really, really, really exciting. This is a banner day. It’s fantastic!”

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