Confluence Arts Center plans are unveiled
Posted: February 12, 2016
Design plans for the new Confluence Arts Center were presented to the public this week in the lobby of the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire. Plans for the arts center were developed during discussions with user groups and stakeholders over the course of 10 meetings with the architect and engineering design teams led by Strang Architects of Madison and Holzman, Moss & Bottino of New York City.
"Initial discussions about this performing arts center began in 2007. On May, 2012, we announced our intent to go forward with this project," said UW-Eau Claire Assistant Chancellor for Facilities and University Relations Mike Rindo.
According to Gerald Jacobson, president of Northwestern Bank and president of Eau Claire Confluence Arts Inc., the non-profit group that will construct and own the arts center, the original construction estimate of $40 million is no longer feasible.
"Currently, our project cost is $45 million, which is $5 million more than we expected," said Jacobson, who added that some construction price inflation has taken place over the past few years.
The 130,000-square-foot facility will include two theatres: A large 1,200 to 1,500 capacity theatre; a flexible, multi-purpose theatre that can seat up to 400 people; A large, open lobby space overlooking a large public plaza that is part of the Confluence Project; An intimate performance space called the Clearwater Room; Scene and costume shops, dressing rooms and back-of-the-house operations; A dance studio and music and theatre rehearsal rooms; Art gallery space and a recording studio; A Visit Eau Claire welcome center for tourists and downtown visitors; and office space for Visit Eau Claire, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff.
Since the three-story complex will cost approximately $5 million more than originally planned, organizers intend to raise additional funds through philanthropic donations, in-kind contributions and other possible grants.
More than $12.5 million has been raised locally so far in philanthropic gifts and commitments to build the arts center. Another $23.5 million has been pledged by state, county and city government. Fundraisers are seeking $2 million in additional donations from area residents and businesses. Another $3 million is being sought from the state in the form of new market tax credits.
The Confluence Council, which will oversee operations of the arts center, will hear a presentation by the Eau Claire Confluence Arts Inc. Budget Committee around March 1st, said Jacobson. TBL