A date of Oct. 26 has been set for the grand opening of Arcadia High School’s new 1,200-seat Performing Arts Center.
School District Superintendent Dr. Joel Shawn says the school is planning a big event themed to “Arts in Arcadia.”
The slightly delayed opening — it was originally scheduled to open this month (June), and then by this September — will prevent the Theatre Arts department from presenting its fall play in the new theater as planned. The department’s debut performance in the PAC will be Spring 2013. Plans for the school’s annual fall play, which has been presented in the AHS Little Theatre, will be announced in the coming months.
Actually, the construction of the PAC comes 58 years after an auditorium was proposed for the campus in 1954, the first year that the school was fully opened to all high school grade levels after a limited opening in 1952. But a lack of funding prevented the auditorium from being built, the same obstacle that short-circuited several other proposals for a school and/or community theater in the decades since.
After 58 years of waiting, a four-month delay seems very inconsequential.
Construction began in February 2011 on the $25 million, 1,200-seat, 40,000 square-foot PAC building on the 4.2 acre site at the northwest corner of the school campus at Campus Drive and El Monte Avenue, just east of the district administration office facing north on Campus Blvd. (that building will be demolished in the coming months, as district offices are relocated to school property near Bonita Park at Third Street). It is the centerpiece of the five-year $218 million district-wide school improvements bond project (Measure I) passed by voters in November 2006.
Among the other features of the PAC, from project architect and interior designer LPA of Irvine, structural engineer Myers Houghton & Partners, mechanical engineer Henrikson Owen & Associates, and general contractor McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., are:
- Two-story (“double-height”) glass-enclosed signature lobby (picture at right)
- Exterior canopies and covered walkways
- Main concert hall, with a capacity for up to 150 musicians
- 40-foot high ceiling for complex theater productions
- Lower level and balcony seating
- Adjustable sound-absorptive panels for acoustical “tuning” based on the needs of the performance
- 100 tons of energy-efficient air conditioning units
- Black box theater with 100-plus seats and control room for smaller performances
- Main Orchestra classroom with dedicated practice rooms
- Dance studio with a quadruple-sprung wood floor.
- Student direct access to the main hall from three adjacent classrooms
Originally budgeted at $27.4 million, the cost is expected to come in under $25 mil.
– By Scott Hettrick