- Associated Press - Sunday, October 8, 2017

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - Dakota Wesleyan University has recently dedicated a $1.2 million theater.

Dan Miller, the university’s director of theater, addressed a crowd outside the newly built theater last month during an official dedication, the Daily Republic reported.

Miller said the facility was “desperately needed” for production and performances in the theater department.

“Theater has been around for thousands and thousands of years, and sometimes it felt like our old facility had been around for thousands and thousands of years,” Miller said.

The Ron and Sheila Gates Department of Theatre had been previously held in Hughes Hall, which was built in 1912 and holds Patten-Wing Theatre, which seated about 50.

The new facility triples the number of seats and can also host a variety of theater styles, including, thrust, proscenium and alley theater, as well as theater-in-the-round.

The new theater is located south of Dakota Discovery Museum. The 5,000-square-foot space houses a black-box theater, a scene shop, office space, dressing rooms and a green room. It also seats up to 150.

“I’m so pleased that our administration, board of trustees and donors have seen the importance of arts and how important arts are to a liberal arts university such as Dakota Wesleyan,” Miller said. “The new theater facility is tangible evidence to the commitment and understanding of Dakota Wesleyan’s administration and donors.”

The dedication was held in conjunction with homecoming week and included remarks from donor and big arts supporters Ron and Sheila Gates, university President Amy Novak and theater student Lily Jones.

“I know Mr. Miller and his students are very happy with their new digs,” Ron Gates said. “Students will learn how to take direction and work together as a team to accomplish a goal and gain self-confidence that will help them later in life.”

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

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