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Chicago Sets Date For Venue Expansion

CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Old Town School of Folk Music has set a groundbreaking date for the $18 million expansion at its Lincoln Square site — complete with classrooms, dance studios and a new 133-seat performance venue.

The new concert hall will have more of an open, dancefloor feel than the current sit-down space, allowing for more “social interaction and couples dancing,” said Matthew Mateo Mulcahy, community programs director according to the Chicago Tribune. The more intimate nature of the space also lends itself to more singer-songwriter bookings, with padded bleachers available for seating.

The planned 27,100-square-foot building, the school's first new construction in its 53-year history, is expected to open in fall 2011 according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

It will occupy vacant land acquired by the school in 2005 at 4543 N. Lincoln. The location is across from the Old Town School's primary home, which serves 7,000 students a week and turns away scores of others.

In addition, Old Town has acquired a license to start booking paying concerts at a third location, its older facility at 909 W. Armitage Av. This will give the school the ability to book shows at three locations at once by the fall of 2011, significantly increasing its reach, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Ground will be broken at the 4543 N. Lincoln location early next month, and an event celebrating the beginning of the project will be held on site on August 6th.

The free celebration will feature a group sing-along with the Old Town School's guitar faculty, a Brazilian dance lesson, a jam for stringed instruments and a drum circle, according to the Chicago Sun Times. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers