Allegro Performing Arts Academy on the move

Tonya Goodwillie checks out the new site of the Allegro Performing Arts Academy at 222 Central Ave.  - Ross Coyle/Kent Reporter
Tonya Goodwillie checks out the new site of the Allegro Performing Arts Academy at 222 Central Ave.
— image credit: Ross Coyle/Kent Reporter

Allegro Performing Arts Academy, an 18-year icon of Kent, has big plans in store for 2014, including a move to a new location at 222 Central Ave., the former site of a Stupid Prices store.

This will be Allegro's third move, and owner Tonya Goodwillie hopes it will be the final one. She started with a 3,000-square-foot studio across from Smith Brothers Dairy, then moved to a 12,000-square-foot building on South Central Avenue, and finally to Central and Gowe Street.

"We're calling this our forever home," said Goodwillie as she points out all the new features planned for the studio.

While she continues classes at her existing location at 1209 Central Ave. S., she plans to have the new studio ready by the end of the month, and has a grand opening party scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on Jan. 26.

The 12,000-square-foot building won't be a size increase from Goodwillie's existing studio, but instead the former store's open space has allowed her to meticulously design her studio from the ground up. In her previous buildings, she's had to modify her classes to the building's design. This time around it's the opposite.

The new studio boasts six dance rooms with mirrors and observation windows. Four 1,200-square-foot rooms complemented by a smaller 800-square-foot room for childrens' classes and a 1,700-square-foot room for larger productions. Additionally, she's made space for children and teenage lounge and study spaces, to make the studio a place for her students to do homework or relax after school.

Progress on the building hasn't completely been smooth for Goodwillie, who says that she's run into her share of hurdles, from planning to the costs. Getting permits from the city alone took several weeks, which stalled construction.

"We were just sitting on our hands doing nothing, and that set us back three weeks," she said.

She's also had to budget for overages and additional fees, which she hopes she'll be able to manage as a small business owner.

"It's scary, I've got some loans to pay off now," she said with a nervous chuckle. "This has been the most stressful thing I've ever done."

Goodwillie hopes that the space she makes will help do more than just be another business along Central Avenue, and the exposure she gets will make up for the expansion costs.

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