Stand Up and Be Seen!

WCSU professors cheered the news that the long-awaited Visual and Performing Arts Center had been granted state funding, with construction expected to begin this fall.

WCSU President James Schmotter learned in March 2011 that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has approved bonding for the $80 million building, which has been on the university's wish list for 20 years and in planning for about eight. Schmotter said he understood it was one of two "shovel-ready" projects in the Connecticut State University System that received Malloy's go-ahead.

"It's been a long struggle for us, so this is really exciting," Schmotter said. "The design work is done. The faculty have been working with a team of architects for two years."

Schmotter said the building is an important part of the university's 10-year master plan, which is now in its fourth year.

Western, which has the only School of Visual and Performing Arts in the state university system, plans to break ground in fall 2011 and open the building in 2014. The 135,000-square-foot facility will be sited on the existing parking lot between the Westside Student Center and the O'Neill Center.

Plans call for the $80 million building to feature a 337-seat concert hall, a 330-seat theater, design studios and a gallery for the art department. A two-story central lobby will serve as a gathering space for the facility, with access to the quadrangle and outdoor loggia.

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Clockwise from top:
Artist's rendering of the proposed exterior of the new School of Visual and Performing Arts Center.

The new SVPA concert hall, as envisioned by the architect.