Decades of dreams and three years of construction became a reality on April 6, 2000, with the dedication of the new Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Enabled by the generosity of Cedar Valley residents Ed and Cathy Gallagher and Carl and Peggy Bluedorn, as well as support from the university, the state and over 1,400 donors across Iowa, this was the first major center to open in Iowa in twenty years. The $23 million, 100,000 square foot complex features three state-of-the-art concert halls, a soaring glass-walled lobby and dozens of teaching and rehearsal spaces. All three halls have been designed with superb acoustics and intimate sightlines. The Great Hall also has cutting-edge theatre technology, enabling the center to present artists spanning from chamber ensembles to the biggest Broadway shows. Hosting more than 300 performances each year, the GBPAC showcases the world's finest artists, ensembles of the UNI School of Music, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and many other regional events.
Designed to echo the great European opera houses, the Great Hall seats up to 1,680 on three levels, complete with opera boxes. A curved 410-seat mezzanine tops an 830-seat orchestra level and a 440-seat Gallery/Second Balcony. State-of-the-art rigging, lighting, audio systems and orchestra pit convert the hall easily from concerts to theatrical performances. The hall is also equipped for broadcasting and high quality recording. Backstage includes four "star" and two chorus dressing rooms, a green room and double loading dock.
A flexible rehearsal/recital hall with retractable seating converts from a rehearsal hall for large UNI ensembles during the day to a concert space for recitals and chamber ensembles at night. Surrounding the room are musical instrument storage areas and vocal and instrumental music libraries for the UNI School of Music.
The center's smallest hall houses its most precious instrument - a $500,000, 38 rank tracker organ built for the center by Wolff & Assoc. of Laval, Canada. A resource for the UNI organ program and home for intimate chamber concerts, Jebe Hall also serves as a rehearsal space for UNI choral ensembles.
The Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was made possible through the gifts of over 1,400 private donors in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa and the state of Iowa. It is named in honor of two prominent couples who each contributed $1 million or more to the project.