The Marks Rothenberg-Grand Opera House project was included in a tour of Meridian by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran Tuesday.
Renovations are underway to transform the historic site into the Riley Performing Arts Center of Mississippi State University.
"It's a great historical monument here to the entertainment arts and the life that was in Meridian almost 100 years ago," Cochran said. "The fact is it's given a new impetus to growth and aspirations for downtown Meridian. I think this is going to be one of the show places in our state."
"The past performers who have been here to our state and the talent like George Gershwin whose name is on the wall there, apparently his signature when he was traveling with a band through here," said Sen. Cochran. "We have a lot to be proud of and we should not forget the rich past that Mississippi had in the performing arts."
Mississippi State University president Dr. Charles Lee said he is excited about the project.
"I'm interested in the past as a prologue to the future and I think this can project the past and celebrate the future at the same time," said Dr. Lee.
"I think it represents a part of our commitment to extending out beyond the campus to help people make a better quality of life and a better quality of life for the people of our state."