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Lobby of the former Scottish Rite building.

$3 million in Legacy funds could go to downtown USF upgrades

FORT WAYNE -- The University of St. Francis could soon be one step closer to its proposed $12.3 million project to renovate the former Chamber of Commerce and former Scottish Rite buildings.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced Friday a proposal to invest $3 million in Legacy funds to the USF to help with the renovation process.

Pending approval from the City Council and fundraising for the remaining $9.3 million, school officials said they hope to start construction later this year.

The building at 431 W. Berry St. will house the USF Music technology and Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts programs.

In addition to the existing 2,000-seat auditorium, the renovations would involve adding workspace for students, recording studios, video production facilities, rehearsal space and offices.

The building at 826 Ewing St. will be home to the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Once construction is complete, the university estimates 250 to 300 students will be enrolled in programs based out of the downtown campus.

“A downtown university presence will create cultural activities that attract a diverse creative class, ignite social activity and lead to the establishment of niche business,” University President Sister M. Elise Kriss said.

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