by: Cecelia Haack, Chuck Nakvasil kicks back in one of the seven theaters in his new complex, which opens Friday. The $8 million facility represents the latest in theater technology and the culmination of a lifelong dream for Nakvasil, who grew up in Scappoose.

Chuck Nakvasil's dream is about to come true. On May 2 he will open the Scappoose Cinema 7 and start showing first-run movies. The movie house's theaters range in size from 50 to 175 seats.

Nakvasil's roots go deep in Scappoose. He grew up here and graduated from Scappoose High School. He lived on Callahan Road while he attended the University of Portland, earning a bachelor's degree in education and economics. He started teaching in Portland Public Schools in 1960.

Thirty-three years before he retired as a principal in 1993, Nakvasil and Jim Svoboda purchased the Crest Theater in St. Johns. One movie theater begot another, including the Moreland, Roseway, Cinemagic and Valley Cinema Pub, until Nakvasil and his partners owned the largest chain of independently owned theaters in the Portland metro area.

He's seen a lot of changes in the industry since 1960. His first movie screen was a proverbial silver screen. Movies were shown by 35mm projectors. Dolby sound was the newest sound technology.

Over the years one of his partners passed away and the other sold his holdings. But Nakvasil is not any where near ready to quit. He loves the business and can't imagine not owning, operating and building movie theaters.

Scappoose Cinema 7 is a 5.3 million dollar project. Nakvasil has babied it every step of the way from buying the land, over seeing the plans and breaking ground. He's bought the best movie technology on the market for this theater.

Each of the seven theaters has digital movie projection systems.

'It's better than HDTV,' he said. 'It's so good it isn't even rated on the same scale as HDTV and DVDs.'

The smaller, 50 seat theaters also have 35mm projection systems. This makes it possible to show smaller independent and art films, too.

Cutting-edge technology doesn't stop at the movie screens that are now white instead of silver. Each theater is equipped with Dolby surround sound. The combination of digital projection and Dolby surround sound will create a crystal clear picture with high quality sound. Plus, Nakvasil promises he'll have 3-D by 2009. It's a movie buff's idea of heaven.

Each of the seven theaters has stadium seating and comfortable rocking seats. There is handicapped access to all theaters and a handicapped accessible restroom, too.

Nakvasil promises his concession stands will sell pop, popcorn and treats below Portland theater price points.

From May through Labor Day the theater will have $6 matinees until 6 p.m. Evening movies will be $6 for seniors and children under the age of 12, and $8 for adults.

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