Keeping history while transitioning into the future

VCCT transforming old Lincoln School building


ROCHELLE – While COVID-19 may have slowed the down the process, the Vince Carney Community Theater has decided on a new name for its future home and is making progress on the buildings renovations.

Construction to turn the old Lincoln School, located on South Main Street in Rochelle, into the future home of the VCCT has been underway since last September. Until now, the building has been known to most in the community as the “old” Lincoln School.

It is known by this name because many people in the community have memories of going to school there when they were growing up in Rochelle. With that in mind, when renaming the building, the VCCT wanted to keep the history of the original building while making the transition easier for the community by creating a name that is inclusive to all types of events.

“There is a lot of sentimental attachment to not just the building itself, but to the memories created there,” VCCT President Amy Frank said. “So, we decided to honor those memories as well as make the transition easier by keeping Lincoln in the name. We also decided on ‘Lincoln Arts Center’ because that keeps the space open for any type of events and not just theater productions.”

The VCCT will be holding a meeting to decide on the font of the lettering and when it will be put up, but the original lettering in the word Lincoln will remain untouched. The VCCT also plans to keep some of the building’s interior original such as some of the murals.

Until COVID-19 happened, construction was going smooth and was on track to host its first show in July of this year. Since the quarantine, construction on the building has slowed down but has continued to move forward.

Most of the electrical in the building as well as the dry wall and ticket booth have been put up. The next steps are to sand and patch the holes in the drywall, paint it and then construct the stage and hang the lighting.

“All of our shows and fundraisers have been cancelled, COVID has challenged us in ways that we did not expect this year,” Frank said. “Considering we have had limited volunteer opportunities it is still going well.”

The VCCT is planning on hosting smaller fundraisers this fall and winter as well as the first VCCT production and 40th anniversary celebration in February. The VCCT is also always looking for volunteers and people can sign up by phone at 815-513-8228 or via email at

“If people are comfortable to volunteer we can always use help cleaning up since sanding is very dusty and it will go into the duct work when the air conditioning is running,” Frank said.