More than 60 years after its founding, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle continues to grow.
CPYB Board President Steve Riccio announced on Wednesday that the board has unanimously approved a $1.25 million building expansion project for its facility at 5 N. Orange St. Construction is scheduled to begin next week and stretch into early June.
The 6,600-square-foot expansion will increase the building’s size by around 40 percent, adding four dance studios to the facility’s existing six studios, said CEO Nicholas Ade. The project involves renovating a warehouse portion of the existing building and adding on to that with new construction in an existing play yard.
The addition will feature several large windows with a “bump out” facing an alley that intersects with Belvedere Street. Generous window displays will enable passersby to easily watch dancers perfecting their art, Ade noted.
The expansion is necessary to accommodate the school’s internationally renowned five-week summer ballet program, Ade continued. In 2015, enrollment maxed out at 535 students, with another 125 placed on a waiting list.
The building addition will allow 684 students to register for the 2016 program, which runs June 18-July 23. Additional studios also mean smaller classes for the 230 students, ages 5-20 who attend the ballet school during the academic year.
“Our year-round academic students will benefit from this expansion as the additional studios will allow for them to be taught in smaller class sizes, resulting in more individual attention,” said CPYB Principal Alecia Good-Boresow.
That’s not to mention the positive economic factor that more students are likely to bring to the region. Ade said that a 2011 Shippensburg University study determined the yearly impact on the region as nearly $6 million when including ticket sales, store purchases, hotel and car rentals, restaurants, and more. Plus, that figure most likely has increased since then because the ballet organization has grown by 34 percent since 2011.
“The CPYB brings hundreds of students and families to the region annually. They are recognized as one of the best youth ballets in the country, which enables them to attract the brightest and best talent available. The additional to their facility will allow them to attract and increase their student population and continue to make the CPYB a leader in their industry that we should be proud to host and be a part of the community. I think this validates their commitment to remain here in the Carlisle area, which ultimately will continue to support the local businesses here as well,” said Jonathan Bowser, CEO of Cumberland Area Economic Development Corportation.
“When we reviewed CPYB’s plan, we were thrilled to see that school’s need to grow. The economic impact on Carlisle is significant, as well as the fact that CPYB is one more organization that puts Carlisle on both the national and international landscape,” said Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott.
The construction project is being funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the John Crain Kunkel Foundation, with the balance being financed by Fulton Bank. Architectural planning, construction and project management is headed by R.S. Mowery & Sons.
The CPYB was founded in 1955 by Marcia Dale Weary in a “sheet barn a half-mile from here,” Ade said, noting that it is still used, with four studios. The North Orange Street site was opened in 1999. The school also maintains a studio at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Studio in Camp Hill.
“This school, this organization and everything that Marcia (Dale Weary) stands for, I’m privileged to serve for. No other school I’ve been surrounded by has the same expectations, nurturing quality and values as we do here. Diligence, inclusiveness and integrity. Those are the things we want to build in kids. Not everyone goes on to dance, so we’re making better people altogether,” said Ade, a former dancer who started at the school as a guest teacher in 2004.
The CPYB’s next scheduled presentation is “Coppelia,” with performances at 1 and 7 p.m. on April 16 and 2 p.m. on April 17 at the Whitaker Center for Science and Arts in Harrisburg. For tickets, phone 717-214-ARTS (2787) or visit whitakercenter.org.’