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Bid process getting underway for WIU’s Center for Performing Arts

A drawing of what the CPA might look like.
Western Illinois University
courtesy photo
A drawing of what the CPA might look like.

Western Illinois University Interim Provost Billy Clow said bids for the long-awaited Center for Performing Arts (CPA) will be due next month and opened on May 13.

Clow told Tri States Public Radio he remains excited about the project.

“It’s something this community deserves. We’ve waited for this. It’s been since 1974 or ’75 since the state built a building on our campus,” he said.

“If all goes as planned, we would see some shovels in the ground – real shovels, not the gold-plated ones – by the time school has started in the fall.”

He said the $89 million CPA could open a couple years after that.

The project previously went out to bid in 2015. But the state received just one bid -- and it came in around $5 million above cost estimates.

The state ordered the project be altered to bring down the cost and then re-bid. But the project stalled during the state’s two-year budget impasse and the ensuing fallout.

The state released $8.9 million early in 2020 to restart the planning.

The CPA will include a large concert hall along with one smaller theater.

“This (version of the) project started long before I got here. It’s 16 years in the making,” said Clow, who came to WIU in 2012.

He said the CPA will be a great facility for students, staff, the community, and the region around WIU.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.