- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Construction is set to begin later this week on the Johnson Fine Arts Center at Northern State University after months of delay.

University President James Smith told the American News in Aberdeen (https://bit.ly/1CQSomz ) that all of the bids have been certified and contracts are being issued.

The $14 million project came in millions of dollars over budget. Smith said officials now have the money to build the project but not enough to completely equip the facility. He said they’re still raising money and that they have a year to do it.

The project will add more than 18,000 square feet to the 48,000-square-foot center and give existing spaces updated looks and equipment. Changes include new seating and acoustic improvements in the theater, lobby improvements, a new black box theatre and new office spaces in which faculty can also teach.

“To be in that facility, which was a state-of-the-art facility in its day, it’s just gotten old. It’s 40 years old,” Smith said. “There just was not enough space to not do it. We had to do it.”

The expected completion date is June 2016.

The Johnson Fine Arts Center has gone unused this school year. Productions have been moved elsewhere on campus, as well as the Capitol Theatre in downtown Aberdeen.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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