Performing arts center being built in Madras

600-seat auditorium to serve as venue for community, schools

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

Owner: Jefferson Country School District

Architect: BBT Architects

General Contractor: Skanska

Contact: 541-777-7773

Details: Construction of the framework for the Madras Performing Arts Center near Madras High School is nearly complete, and interior work is scheduled to start in about six weeks.

The $11.3 million project, which started in August, is part of an improvement program funded by a $26.7 million bond measure passed in May 2012 by Jefferson County School District voters.

“I’m really excited that our community stepped up and said, ‘Yes, this is important to our kids and community, and that’s why we’re moving forward with it,’” said Darryl Smith, director of human resources and operations for the Jefferson County School District. “It will increase the opportunities for cultural enrichment.”

Smith said the goal is to build the most technologically advanced performing arts center in the state.

“A drama teacher used to have to have somebody in the control booth to run the lighting … now you can actually have that on the tablet and be on the stage with the students,” he said.

The 34,000-square-foot performing arts center will include a 600-seat auditorium, main lobby, multipurpose room, dressing room and two locker rooms, said John Williamson, senior project manager for Skanska USA Building.

“One of the neat things about it is it’s going to be such a community focal point,” Williamson said. “This will be the high school’s first auditorium. It will allow them to have programs for students, but also host traveling groups, be it the arts or theatrical performances, they wouldn’t otherwise be able to showcase.”

Smith agreed. For example, he said a local dance club has had to rent a Prineville facility for its performances, because Madras didn’t have a venue.

“It will provide a venue for a whole variety of community events, community concerts,” he said. “We have people in the community that are interested in having community theater. We’ve had the symphony groups that have offered to come to Madras to perform, but the only venue we’ve had is our gymnasium, and they won’t perform in a gymnasium.”

About 60 feet away, Williamson said, construction has also started on a new 1,200-seat, open-air stadium. The cost of the site work, stadium, track and field is estimated at $2.1 million.

The stadium lights are in, asphalt for the track has been laid, football field irrigation has been put in and construction on the bleachers and stadium structure will start in about six weeks, he said.

Williamson said he expects the sports complex to be completed by the end of summer, so it can be used for the fall season. Construction on the performing arts center is planned to conclude around November.

— Rachel Rees, The Bulletin