November 30, 2017 at 3:15pm

Have you heard the news? Millikin recently announced plans to break ground in 2018 on a new Center for Theatre and Dance, with the building targeted for a fall 2020 opening. The $29 million facility will include a convertible theatre, well-equipped studios, classrooms, design labs and public spaces for the nationally recognized School of Theatre and Dance. 

Thanks to visionary and generous alumni and community leaders, as well as the investment of University resources by Millikin's Board of Trustees, more than half of the necessary funding has been secured to complete the project. 

“So many people have brought us to this exciting point,” said Millikin President Dr. Patrick White. “We look forward to the help of alumni and community leaders to complete the vision and finish 'building on dreams' to create a place that will enrich and enhance our lives and mean so much to Millikin, Decatur and so many of our students and alumni.”

With current performance venues, studios, classrooms and offices scattered in 12 buildings across (and even off-) campus, one centralized building housing production, performance, office and support spaces has long been a dream of SOTD students, faculty and staff.

“Our programs have recently received several different national top ten rankings, placing Millikin among the most respected theatre programs in the country,” said Mary Black, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. “The new Center for Theatre and Dance will provide our students, faculty and staff with the facilities necessary to build on that success.”

The School continues to enjoy robust enrollment figures, with a growth rate of 42 percent over the last five years. Currently, nearly 250 undergraduate students are enrolled in SOTD programs.

“This new building will allow us to continue to grow and excel as we prepare students for their lives as theatre artists,” said Black.

During the official announcement, held in Albert Taylor Theatre on campus, 1999 Millikin alumna Annie Wersching joined the gathering via Skype to share her support and enthusiasm for the project. Well-known to TV viewers, this busy and talented actress has appeared in many popular series, including recurring roles on “24;” “The Vampire Diaries;” “Castle;” the Amazon series, “Bosch” and the upcoming Hulu series, “Runaways,” a part of the popular Marvel Comics franchise. Wersching expressed excitement over the architectural renderings of the new building, and indicated an interest in the possibility of returning to campus for a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the project is completed.