The Marion Buckelew Cullen Center, home of the Hillman Performance Hall, opened for classes on Tuesday, September 2, when served as the site for the Westminster Choir College 2014 Opening Convocation. A ribbon cutting for the new building is planned for October 22, and a community open house will be held Sunday, October 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Honoring the philanthropist who made a $5 million bequest to Westminster Choir College, the new building contains a 3,000-square-foot performance and rehearsal hall, which will be named the Hillman Performance Hall, in recognition of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, which provided a $3 million grant to support the project. In addition to the performance/rehearsal hall, the Cullen Center includes a large lobby, a green room and three flexibly configured classrooms that will accommodate a wide range of academic and choral uses. It is located beside The Playhouse, creating a new quadrangle and courtyard that will be a primary outdoor venue for Westminster student and alumni events. It was designed by KSS of Princeton, which coordinated the building's appearance with the Georgian style of the four original buildings surrounding the Morgan Quadrangle.
Funds from the State of New Jersey's “Building Our Future” bond program were central to the completion of the $8.5 million project, as well as pledges, gifts and grants from various sources.
The Cullen Center includes an integrated connection to The Playhouse that will provide improved audience access and amenities including a ticket booth and handicap-accessible restrooms. To maximize the opportunities the project offers for enhancing The Playhouse, a campaign is under way to secure $1.69 million to upgrade this building that has played such an important role in Westminster’s history.
Time lapse video of the construction of the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center and the Hillman Performance Hall on the Westminster Choir College of Rider University campus.
Construction began August 2013 and the building was opened for classes on September 2, 2014.
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