Haidee & Allen Wild Center for the Arts

1989 - Present

Cottey's Center for the Arts (often called the P.A.C.) contains a 490-seat auditorium, the 150-seat Missouri Recital Hall, a 1,375-square-foot art gallery, green room, costume and set shops, and office space for faculty.1 It is the center of the college's drama department, as well as the site for cultural events and traditions like Formal Drawing and Freshmen and Senior Chapels.

Designing the Performing Arts Center

By the 1980s, Rosemary Hall's auditorium was beginning to show its age. The 80-year-old building was no longer suitable as a center for the drama program or for cultural events. The decision not to renovate Rosemary with Main Hall sealed its fate. Rosemary was to be demolished and a new performing arts center (P.A.C.) built.

Sketch of the Haidee and Allen Wild Center for the Arts, 1987
Sketch of the P.A.C. from Tower Street, 1987.4
Before the Center for the Arts, 1984
Cottey's red barn and white storage building on the future site of the P.A.C., 1984. (Courtesy Staci Thompson.)

The new center was to be built on the block west of P.E.O. Hall. This land had been part of Cottey's campus since 1938, when V.A.C. Stockard deeded it to the college for a new sports field.2 (The old field was about to be displaced by P.E.O. Hall.) A house on the northeast corner of the block had been the school's infirmary in the 1950s and '60s.3 In the 1980s, the house was being used as a carpentry shop.1 A couple of Physical Plant facilities were built on the block as well ― the "red barn," which held the college vehicles, and a small white storage building. To make way for the new center, the old infirmary and storage building were torn down and the red barn was relocated west of Hinkhouse Center.

Architects began working on plans for the performing arts center in 1986. Cottey President Washburn appointed a committee of administrative personnel and fine arts faculty to work with them on the design.1 The committee included Dr. Washburn, Dr. Bruce Holman, Michel Ashmore, Donna Lynde, and Dyke Kiel. After much discussion and many compromises, plans for a a 29,000-square-foot facility were finalized. The initial estimated cost of the project was $3.4 million, which included the demolition of Rosemary Hall and an addition to the Physical Plant building. However, an extra $1 million was eventually added to the budget.6

Performing Arts Center floorplan, c. 1988
A simple floorplan of the center, 1988.4 The first sponsored rooms are highlighted in yellow.
Performing Arts Center groundbreaking, 1988
The center's groundbreaking ceremony, 1988.3 Dr. Bruce Holman, Joan Bradshaw, John Burt, Dr. Helen Washburn, Bernard Paulin.
Center for the Arts under construction, 1989
The performing arts center under construction, 1989.5

Gifts & Construction

Although Cottey and the P.E.O. had enough funds to pay for the majority of the new center, they wanted to save that money for future campus expansion.1 Requests for major donations began in 1987. Nearly every piece and parcel of the building could be sponsored. The Missouri State Chapter was one of the first to finance a room; they chose the recital hall for $100,000.6 The Cottey College Alumnae Association gave $45,000 to fund the Green Room,11 and the P.E.O. Foundation sponsored the center's art gallery.6 Many local P.E.O. chapters and individuals donated a seat in the auditorium or recital hall, one of which cost a mere $1,000.8 By the end of 1988, $432,597 had been received in gifts for the center.7

Cottey found its major benefactor in Gene Wild, an alumna and member of the college's Board of Trustees at that time.9 The building was named after her parents, Haidee and Allen Wild.

Construction on the Center for the Arts took place from spring of 1988 to winter of 1989. The groundbreaking ceremony occurred on April 14, 1988 with members of Cottey College and P.E.O.'s International Chapter in attendance.5 The building was formally dedicated on February 9, 1990 followed by a grand reception in Raney Dining Room.

More Photos

Site of the Center for the Arts, c. 1965
The future site of the P.A.C., with the infirmary building in the lower right-hand corner, c. 1965.10
Site of Center for the Arts, c. 1987
The red barn can be seen on the future site of the P.A.C. at right, c. 1985. (Courtesy Staci Thompson.)
PAC floorplan, 1987
Architects' schematic of the P.A.C. and surrounding buildings, including the Physical Plant addition, 1987.1
Sketch of the Haidee and Allen Wild Center for the Arts, 1987
Sketch of the performing arts center from Austin Boulevard, 1987.1
Ground-breaking ceremony attendees from PEO International, 1988
Executives of the P.E.O. International Chapter attend the ground-breaking ceremony, 1988.5 Vera Koefoot, Jean Boswell, Mary Louise Remy, Joan Bradshaw, Nancy Hall.
Finished Center for the Arts, 1990
The Haidee and Allen Wild Center for the Arts, 1990.9
Center for the Arts opening ceremony, 1990
Center for the Arts opening ceremony, 1990.9

Works Cited:

  1. Albright, Kay. "Proposal: Performing Arts Center at Cottey College." The P.E.O. Record. May 1987: 6-8. Print.
  2. Troesch, Helen DeRusha. The Life of Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Wayside Press, Inc., 1955: 273. Print.
  3. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1959: 6-7. Print.
  4. The P.E.O. Record. May 1987: Cover. Print.
  5. "Seminar Focus Says: 'Be a Part of Cottey.'" The P.E.O. Record. July-Aug. 1988: 9-10. Print.
  6. MacLaren, Wendy. "Gift Opportunities for Performing Arts Center." The P.E.O. Record. Oct. 1988: 4-5. Print.
  7. "The Walls Go Up." The P.E.O. Record. Apr. 1989: 10-11. Print.
  8. MacLaren, Wendy. "Never Let it Be Said." The P.E.O. Record. Nov.-Dec. 1989: 34. Print.
  9. McBride, Roberta J. "Grand Opening is Right!" The P.E.O. Record. May-June 1990: 2-3. Print.
  10. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1965. Print.
  11. Redford, Laura. "Onward Cottey Alums." The P.E.O. Record. Oct. 1991: 5-6. Print.
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