La Crosse Performing Arts Center 

Groundbreaking 11/16/11 

Good Morning

Today will be remembered in the history of the city as an important step forward for our community. Viterbo University and the La Crosse Community Theatre come together this morning to begin a project that will significantly benefit our respective organizations, as well as on the city and region.

Separate and parallel plans converged for an opportunity that will benefit generations to come. The new Performing Arts Center will realize the dream of our creative colleagues in the La Crosse Community Theatre, it will elevate the opportunities for Viterbo students in the performing arts, and it will anchor the arts district while strengthening the downtown core.

I wish to express the University’s appreciation for the collaborative spirit of the leadership of the La Crosse Community Theatre. Our identities will remain intact even as we work together in the months and years ahead. Mutual respect, trust, and love for the arts have forged this alliance and will be the cement that binds us for decades to come. 

Since the founding of Viterbo by the FSPA, the arts have held a central focus. The bold vision of the Franciscan Sisters to construct the magnificent Fine Arts Center 40 years ago transformed a small college; that leap of faith dramatically increased the opportunities for cultural enrichment and entertainment for people of all ages in the Coulee Region.

Our collaborative vision for the La Crosse Performing Arts Center likewise imagines an infusion of talent, energy and vitality to the downtown that will most assuredly and positively impact the experience of audiences, raise the visibility of Viterbo’s academic program, and enhance the quality of life in our community.

Grateful to my colleagues from Viterbo who are involved with this project and especially to members of our board of trustees who are present: Sr. Mary Ann Gschwind, chair, John Desmond, and Don Weber.


It is my honor to introduce Don Weber. Without Don’s support and generosity, this project would still be a dream. Thank you, Don, for this beautiful property and for your vision for a downtown campus which has transformed the south end of the Riverfront.