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Morris Performing Arts Center to receive improvements

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - More than $20 million worth of work is being planned for South Bend’s Morris Performing Arts Center.

The project would extend beyond the building itself.

So far officials have discussed building a parking garage with up to 300 spaces and a new multi story structure on the parking lot to the north of the Morris that might include a grand reception hall.

“The major entrance will always be the front of the building. This is the smile of downtown. It’s the marquee, it’s our entryway,” South Bend Venues Parks and Arts Director Aaron Perri explained. “But again, perhaps envisioning the space between the Morris and the LaSalle Hotel, could that be an additional entrance? Could there be an attached parking garage? These are some of the things we’re going to want to explore with a lot of our partners in the city.”

The Morris will turn 100 years old in November of 2022.

The goal is to make sure the theater will serve the community well for the next 100 years.

“Some of the things in the building are 100 years old still. Things like the concrete floor for example,” Perri said. “Other things like the mechanicals were upgraded 20 years ago in the last big renovation for the Morris.”

There’s also talk of replacing the fountain and repositioning Jon Hunt Plaza which has become a popular summer concert venue in its own right.

It’s hoped the Morris project would be funded the same way Howard Park improvements were paid for—with half the money coming from grants, donations, and partnerships.

The the first step in the process was taken today with Greg and Mary Downes named as chairs of the fundraising committee by the Civic Center Board of Managers.

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