Long-time university benefactors Milton and Tamar Maltz recently announced that they would be donating $30 million to the construction of the new Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center, a large increase from their original donation of $12 million.
The Performing Arts Center has been in the works since 2010, when it was originally estimated to cost $26 million. The initial plans involved the renovation of the Silver Sanctuary at the Temple-Tifereth Israel on East 105th Street.
The sanctuary, which would still be available for the temple’s use on Jewish holidays, will be renovated so that it can seat up to 1,350 for lectures and 1,100 for concerts.
Upon examination of the other spaces that the temple offered, the university decided to expand the project to include three more performing arts venues, resulting in an increased total cost of $60 million.
“The scope expanded,” said Director of the Office of Planning, Design and Construction Joanne Brown. “We realized that we had a project with phenomenal possibilities.”
The new plans include a 350-seat proscenium theater, a black box theater and a recital hall. The university also plans on adding rehearsal spaces, costume and set shops and office space, which will be used by the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Having one location with all of those venues in it really opens up opportunities for the university and the greater community,” said Brown.
The university hopes to have the sanctuary renovated by September of 2015, with the rest of the venues following in the next year.
“There has never been a building built on Case Western Reserve’s campus in the history of the institution for the performing arts,” said Jerald Scott, acting chair of the Department of Theater. “Every space that is used for the performing arts is a renovated or repurposed space. This is the first building built for the performing arts on campus, which is really significant for the breadth of programs we can offer.”
“The facilities that are used are woefully outdated and physically in raw shape,” he added. Using the new space, the performing arts department hopes to offer bigger performances, including large musicals, which were not possible in the current venues.
The university also hopes to raise another $4 million before finally completing the project. Certain areas of the center will be left as “shell” space, with a finished exterior but no interior, until the remainder of the funds can be raised.
Throughout planning for the performing arts center, there have also been talks about a separate project involving a pedestrian bridge to the west side of campus, which, until now, has been underdeveloped.
“The university recognizes the need for pedestrian access, and the west campus is going to be a potential for future development,” said Brown, who stressed that the walkway was a separate project from the performing arts center.
“The university is investigating that right now.”