Rock and roll is coming to John Day.
The Blue Mountain Junior High School is being renovated to host concerts as the Madden Brothers Performing Arts Center.
Micky and the Motorcars will perform with Dustin Schaefer on Aug. 4, and Chris Knight will play Aug. 21.
“It was a black eye on the town, having a huge empty building, so we bought it with hopes of doing something with it,” said Jesse Madden, who owns Blue Mountain Custom Homes with his brother, Joe Madden.
The building is also being remodeled to provide 14,000 square feet of office space.
Interest has been expressed in the space by Oregon State University and the Blue Mountain Land Trust, Jesse said.
When the Maddens purchased the building from the Grant County Library Foundation in November of 2014, the old school was structurally sound but in need of beautification, according to Joe Madden.
“We haven’t changed anything structurally,” Joe said, but added new floors, doors and paint.
Jesse described it as “a compete remodel.”
They began the remodel in May and are hoping to have some of the office space ready by the end of August.
While the building is moving forward, the Maddens made sure to preserve a bit of its past.
Upon graduating, many students signed the school’s gym walls.
The Maddens are working around the signatures to preserve them and have set aside a wall for bands who play there to sign.
Tickets for the shows will range from $25-30, and VIP options will be available. The Aug. 4 show will have food and drink provided by Suds Pub, according to Jesse.
The business is hoping to host 200-300 people for shows.
The John Day City Council agreed to issue a special events permit for the summer concert series as a pilot program during a June 13 city council meeting.
Parking will be available at the Gleason Pool lot as well as the fairgrounds on performance nights, and Jesse said they are working with the People Mover to provide transportation.
After remodeling the old school over the summer, the Maddens plan to hang on to it.
“We have no intention of selling,” Jesse said.