- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - Dakota Wesleyan University is planning a $1 million project that will include a theater and a welcome center and involve the demolition of an historic building.

The center and multipurpose “black box” theater will be in an expansion to the Dakota Discovery Museum, which the Mitchell university began managing last year. The university’s development offices also will be housed in the new space, The Daily Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1RGmcJK ).

The United Methodist-based, liberal arts university has raised most of the money for the project, and hopes to break ground in the fall and sell naming rights, according to President Amy Novak.

The announcement comes about a month after the university dedicated a $10 million sports and wellness complex.

“We’ve made an investment in the athletics and keeping people well, and this is an additional effort, I think, by our donors who see the momentum here at Dakota Wesleyan to now make a commitment to the fine arts,” Novak said.

The theater will not compete with a $15.3 million fine arts center that the Mitchell School District is building, she said. That center will seat about 1,200 people, while the DWU theater will seat only 100-150.

The university will demolish Hughes Science Hall, the theater department’s current home. The century-old building is one of the last remaining original buildings on campus and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It would cost about $8 million to renovate the building, according to Novak.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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