University of Missouri Purchases Downtown Columbia Theatre for $3.7 MillionBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Missouri has purchased the Missouri Theatre for $3.7 million from the Missouri Symphony Society.
In 2011, the University and the symphony society signed an agreement that allowed the former partner to lease the theatre for three years. After the completion of three years, the University can purchase the theatre for $3.7 million - the amount of money the society owed in unpaid debt, Columbia Tribune reports.
"The Missouri Theatre will continue to host performances that have great appeal to the Columbia community, while the university will be able to add a much-needed performance venue to the options available for students, faculty, staff and the Columbia community," said Gary Ward, interim vice chancellor for operations in a statement.
Prior to leasing the theatre, MU struggled to meet the demand of several departments and campus organizations including the School of Music, the University Concert Series and the Missouri Student Association. In 2011, Jesse Auditorium hosted 240 events and programs. In 2013, university officials hosted approximately 500 events in the two buildings (Jesse Auditorium and Missouri Theatre) including lecture series, conferences, concerts and performances.
The acquisition of Missouri Theater will save the university an estimated $57.8 million in future construction costs. If the University builds a new performing arts center (including concert hall, practice rooms and faculty studios) to house the School of Music, the cost was estimated to be at $97 million.
Missouri Symphony Society Board President Lili Vianello said that the Missouri Theater has been a treasured landmark of Columbia since 1928.
"We see this as an opportunity to ensure this historic building is maintained and available for generations to come, while also allowing our organization to focus on its core mission of enhancing and increasing the cultural awareness of classical music in mid-Missouri," Vianello said.