Photo Flash: Maltz Jupiter Theatre Breaks Ground On Expansion Project
Following the completion of its smash hit 2018/19 season, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre is embarking on its much-anticipated expansion.
The day after the curtain closed on its sold out production of West Side Story, the Theatre is breaking ground on the first phase of construction, or Act I, on Monday, April 15.
Completed in three "acts" or phases of construction, Act I will include extensive improvements to the parking lots, adding 30-40 parking spaces, landscaping and bringing power to the building in advance of its next phase, Act II. The Theatre will remain open and fully operational for its upcoming limited engagements, summer productions, Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts classes and summer camp programming during these improvements.
"We are grateful to begin work on the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's expansion and so impressed with the amazing team that is helping us accomplish it," said Andrew Kato, the Theatre's producing artistic director and chief executive. "This expansion is bringing us even closer to reaching our goals of producing the next Broadway-bound hit musical right here in Jupiter. Soon, locals may be able to be among the first to see the next Hamilton: An American Musical or Dear Evan Hansen."
With an ambitious fundraising campaign currently underway, the not-for-profit Theatre is diving into an exciting expansion that will improve production facilities within the next five years. Under the current plan, the Theatre's improved stage will be ten feet deeper and six feet wider on either side, enabling the Theatre to qualify for pre-Broadway and national tours. A third-floor rehearsal studio will provide actors with a view, and residents will have the opportunity to see actors working and rehearsing.
The expansion will also benefit local children and those looking for first-class educational opportunities. The Theatre's popular Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts will double in size, allowing students the opportunity to receive a high-quality, dynamic arts education in state-of-the-art facilities.
A proposed 199-seat second space will also provide the opportunity for programmatic diversity, giving the Theatre fresh possibilities for new and exciting offerings year-round, including a film series, new and alternate plays and musicals, museum exhibits and other innovative presentations. Also new will be Scene, an innovative VIP pre-show supper lounge where guests can dine and be entertained prior to a show.
Estimated to cost $4.2 million, Act I of the expansion will be completed before the Theatre's first season production of the 2019/20 season: The Curious Case of the Curse of Count Dracula, which will begin preview performances on October 27. In addition to a complete overhaul and redesign of the parking lot and landscaping, the work will include two brand new state-of-the-art marquees and an additional curb cut to allow for easier Conservatory student dropoff and pickup.
This summer's work will include building a concrete bunker known as a gear box on the west side of the building behind the stage, which will provide and house the equipment necessary to power the building when all phases are complete.
Raymond E. Graziotto, a volunteer and friend of the Theatre, is donating his company's expertise to the Theatre to ensure that the project gets off the ground smoothly. As a partner and the president and chief operating officer of the private real estate development and management firm Seven Kings Holdings, Inc., Graziotto said he is happy to assist with the often-daunting prospect of collaborating continuously with municipal officials, the architectural team, contractor and other professionals to ensure that all of the project team members involved are organized. This early effort will help streamline the construction timeline, reduce costs and make sure that all of the parties are properly coordinated prior to the start of the work.
"Act I is the first phase that will allow us to get as much of the project done as possible prior to the start of Act II," Graziotto said. "In addition to the specific work and tasks being completed, we're really going to make sure to complete all of the heavy-duty investigative work of understanding all facets of the project and the nuances of the existing building, then finalize and fine tune the construction drawings and project's budget."
Designed by Currie Sowards Aguila Architects, the expansion's proposed layout will eventually double the square footage of the building without impacting the 617-seat audience chamber's intimacy. Act I will also include the bidding, permitting and construction drawings for Act II and Act III, enabling the Theatre to obtain final estimates and plan for the remainder of its Believe capital campaign.
Getting the drawings completed early is crucial to ensure smooth permitting and bidding processes, explained Jess M. Sowards, AIA, LEED AP and Principal of Currie Sowards Aguila Architects.
"The Maltz Jupiter Theatre's expansion is a complex project because it's being completed in three acts in three different summers," Sowards said. "Time is crucial because of the Theatre's performance schedule, so we need to ensure that the contractors can both start and finish on time. Finalizing the drawings early will ensure that all of the necessary permits are in place and that the contractors can properly plan for the project and can hit the ground running for each of its phases."
As Vice Chairman of Gilbane Building Company and Vice President of Gilbane, Inc. - the company completing much of the work - William J. Gilbane, Jr. agreed that completing each phase separately is extremely important with this particular project.
"Act I is very critical to finish before we begin Act II. It will allow us to organize the site's utilities and infrastructure and includes a new transformer and electric service housed in a brand-new utility room," Gilbane said. "In essence, we will be updating the building's outdated electric service and bringing it up to current standards and sizing in preparation for Act II."
In January, philanthropists and founding board members Milton and Tamar Maltz announced an exceptional gift to help fund the expansion: a $5 million matching challenge grant through The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation. The Foundation is currently matching any new donation made to the Theatre's Believe capital campaign dollar-for-dollar. When the Theatre reaches $5 million, this generous match - added to the existing $14 million raised prior to the start of the match - will bring the total Believe capital contribution level to $24 million.
"After an in-depth study and the development of a strategic plan by the Theatre's Board of Directors and staff, the need to expand and improve our facilities was identified if we were to achieve our future objectives. These required significant changes to the building, and we are beginning the exciting first phase of these now," said Robert Sachs, Chairman of the Theatre's Board of Directors.
The project is important for everyone to support because it will improve and enhance the entire community, said William I. Morton, Chairman of the Theatre's Believe Campaign.
"Since its founding 15 years ago, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has grown to be the 'best of the best' and this expansion will significantly contribute to the vitality of the region," Morton said. "The Theatre will become the centerpiece of year-round performing arts activities and enrich the lives of all of those in South Florida that love and appreciate performing arts. With this expansion, the Goldner Conservatory will have exceptional space to serve significantly more children in the community. Educating our youth is a key component of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's mission. This is a wonderful asset for the community that will increase the Theatre's value and visibility."
Since its inception in 2004, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has become one of the Southeast's preeminent professional theatres, committed to artistic excellence, production and education through its collaborations with local and national artists. As the state's largest award-winning regional theatre, the Theatre boasts a subscription base of more than 8,560 and has world-class classroom facilities in support of its Conservatory, which serves more than 600 students per year.
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