LA CROSSE, Wis.--  The La Crosse Community Theatre and Viterbo University are working together on a new facility.  Groundbreaking on the 'La Crosse Performing Arts Center' is scheduled for next week along the Mississippi River at the corner of King and Front Streets.

Plans for the center were announced Wednesday.  Earlier this year, the Community Theatre announced plans to build a theater on its own.  But, Viterbo was looking at possibly adding onto the University's existing Fine Arts Center anyway.  When the university and the Community Theatre went over their program schedules, they realized building a facility for both to use would work well.

For Viterbo, the benefit goes beyond just an additional space for theater students.  "The Community Theatre has a children's program, a summer program, that will fit in very well with our Elementary Education majors.  We could have summer camps that we weren't able to do.  Internships for our marketing students.  There are a lot of opportunities for not only theater students but for other students at the university," says Viterbo President Rick Artman.

The plan for the new La Crosse Performing Arts Center includes a 450 seat main-stage theater, a 100 seat black box theater as well as classroom space to be used by both organizations.

The Executive Director of the Community Theatre says this is a unique partnership and one he expects to have some national significance.  "There's going to be some universities and community theaters that look at La Crosse and say, 'If they can do it, we can do it,' so we actually feel like we're going to have a national influence and La Crosse is going to get on the map yet one more time," says La Crosse Community Theater Executive Director David Kilpatrick.

This joint-facility will be bigger than the one the Community Theatre originally planned at a cost of more than nine-million dollars. 

About 75% of the funds needed to build the shell have already been raised.  Fundraising for the facility will continue until the goal is reached.. and the building can be completed.