Our View

The new Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex has hit another milestone.

Just eight months after announcing that they had reached their minimum fundraising goal of $14 million for the project, campaign organizers say they’re nearly at the upper reach of their original goal of $16 million. That amount will go toward the main components of the complex, which include a 450- to 475-seat performance hall, new and expanded art gallery spaces, classrooms, offices, an outdoor amphitheater, festival plaza and rooftop spaces.

We have been looking forward to this project since it was announced and believe it will enhance the downtown area and increase the arts and cultural offerings of Joplin. It’s good to see that the community — 248 individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations that have pledged gifts and donations — has turned out to support the Cornell Complex as well.

But now the fun begins. Because of strong support for the initial fundraising goal, Connect2Culture and other campaign organizers have set themselves a new target: $17.5 million.

The additional funds would pay for such features as a canopy to shade outdoor amphitheater seating, an interactive water feature and sculptures on the grounds, an orchestra shell to project sound, and flooring for dance performances.

We love the sound of those extras. What’s an arts complex without a sculpture garden? An orchestra pit without a shell, or outdoor seating with shade? Dance performances without the right kind of flooring? These all make sense, and we hope they become part of the finished product.

If you want to back the Cornell Complex project, now is the time to contribute. Some naming opportunities still exist as well.

With construction set to begin by the end of the year, the complex is coming. If the extras can be funded, they will add the finishing touches to a building that already promises to bring so much to downtown Joplin.

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