Ja’Duke expansion nears completion

  • The theater in the expansion on Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts is 100 feet wide by 50 feet deep. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • The new Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts extension, off the current building on Industrial Boulevard, includes a ticket booth area and concession stand. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Inside of the Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts expansion is a “Teal Room,” which will be a multi-purpose room near the theater. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • The expansion on Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts will be 22,000-square-feet in addition to the current building. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Nick Waynelovich and Kim Williams, of Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts, said they are excited to show the Montague community the new expansion to their building, which is nearing completion. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • The “Purple Room” is a multi-use room in the new extension to Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts on Industrial Boulevard in Turners Falls. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • The new theater in the Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts will feature stadium seating with 540 seats. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

Staff Writer
Published: 6/10/2019 12:08:49 AM

MONTAGUE — With a full schedule for its 2019 season, local performing arts group, preschool and driving school Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts is nearing the end of a significant expansion.

With an opening date of Friday, Sept. 13, Kimberly Williams and her father, Nick Waynelovich, of Ja’Duke, are completing “a dream that started in September of 2017.”

The current location on Industrial Boulevard past Franklin County Technical School has been Ja’Duke’s home for the past 12 years.

Ja’Duke teaches about 60 children a day in its four classrooms. Students who are at least 4 years old prepare for kindergarten in the “Yellow Room,” while 3-year-olds about to turn 4 use the “Blue Room” to learn how to share and follow classroom routines.

Older toddlers learn potty training and self-help skills in the “Green Room,” and infants and young toddlers get used to being separated from their parents in the “Orange Room.”

The downstairs part of the building holds the classrooms and offices, as well as a large-scale printer for banners and backdrops. Props, backdrops and costumes are stored upstairs.

In addition to the current activities, the 22,000-square-foot additional building connected to the “Green Room” will feature a 540-seat theater, two multi-use rooms, classroom space, four entrances and 175 parking spaces.

The theater will have a ticket booth, a concession stand, an area for live recordings of shows, bathrooms and stadium seating.

The standout feature, according to Williams, is the 50-foot deep, 100-foot wide stage.

“One of the problems we’ve had is we have a lot of scenery and set pieces and no space to put them,” Williams said. “We wanted to have a huge space because sometimes we have 40 to 50 people on stage.”

Having been a performer for many years, she knew what she wanted.

“We had a clear dream and then we dialed it in,” Williams said.

“It’s one-third bigger than Greenfield High School’s stage,” Waynelovich noted. “It’s the biggest stage in Franklin County.”

Other additions will include online ticket purchasing software, moving the driving school from Greenfield to Montague, and becoming the home of Next Level Music Academy and Next Level Sounds recording studio.

Waynelovich said the expansion will be great not only for Ja’Duke and the children, but the community as a whole.

“This is going to be a place that will be positive for the lives of many people,” Waynelovich said. “This is something really wonderful.”

Williams said while this process is on schedule and underway throughout the summer, it is both exciting and terrifying.

“When your dreams become a reality, it’s scary,” Williams said. “It’s about taking a real risk and trusting the process. We trust it will work out. We’ve got some great people helping us along the way.”

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com. or 413-772-0261 ext. 263.


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