- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) - Construction could begin next year on a new performing arts center at Western Illinois University.

The state is releasing $60 million in capital investment money to build the $71.8 million facility at the Macomb school.

WIU President Emeritus Al Goldfarb says the university has wanted to build the facility since the 1970s, but the project wasn’t approved until 2002.

In a statement, Gov. Pat Quinn called the project “an investment in the school’s future.”

The Center for Performing Arts will be a 130,000-square-foot, two-story facility. It will include a 1,400-seat auditorium and two smaller theaters as well as rehearsal studios.

The building could open by the spring of 2018.

Western Illinois has about 13,600 students.