Ribbon Cutting: Moline High School’s Bartlett Performing Arts Center

Ribbon Cutting: Moline High School's Bartlett Performing Arts Center

Over 150 students, faculty and community members gathered on Thursday, March 7 to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony for Moline High School’s new Bartlett Performing Arts Center. The old auditorium was constructed in 1958 and hadn’t received any major updates since.

While the technology and acoustics in the original auditorium were not great, one of the school’s biggest concerns was that their dressing rooms were stuck in the basement, which tended to flood.  The old structure was replaced with 35,000 s.f. of renovations as well as a 10,000 s.f. addition. The new state-of-the-art facility features an 800-seat auditorium with new lighting and audio systems, increased handicap accessibility, larger stage and orchestra pit, a scene shop with a 12-foot high garage door, new band and choir rooms as well as private practice rooms.  The addition also includes classroom space and a multipurpose room, which can also transition to a black box theater for smaller performances.

This $11 million project was mainly funded by a generous $8-million grant from the Robert E. Bartlett Foundation, while the remainder was from the school district. The foundation works to spread the Barlett family's passion for creative arts throughout the community.  Robert Bartlett’s father was a founder of Quad City Music Guild and was a huge supporter of the local arts. Robert’s sister, Bonnie Bartlett, was raised in Moline and most famous for her acting role as Ellen Craig on TV’s St. Elsewhere.

The grant stipulated that the venue must be available for the public to utilize as well. Because of this, the school board, student representatives and members of the community were all able to give their input on the design and features of the new facility.  For the first six months, however, the Bartlett Performing Arts Center will only be available to the Moline-Coal Valley School District.  Beginning March 21-23, Moline High School will be hosting their first major production on the new stage, Meet Me in St. Louis.

Russell is proud to have played a role in brining this magnificent facility to life that will connect creative arts within the Quad Cities community to the Moline-Coal Valley School District.


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