Hundreds of school and City officials and members of the various current and former boards supporting the concept were beaming like proud parents at the auditorium that is quire impressive inside and out. And the entire theater was filled with actual proud parents Thursday evening during more than two hours of student performances that included the AHS orchestra, drama department, and the entire marching band, which spilled off the stage and into the aisles. The finale even included orchestra members surprising the audience by entering the back of the balcony area and filling up the steps in the aisles as they played the final crowd-pleasing number.
<Story continues below the following 2:20 video highlights of the ceremony…>
The facility, which also features a small “black box” theater-in-the-round, an orchestra room, a dance recital room, locker rooms with TV monitors in the restrooms, and an outdoor courtyard that could be used for performances, was originally budgeted at $27 million as part of the Measure I $218 million school improvement bond. Officials said a few months ago the project would come in at about $25 million and they now call it a $20 million building.
It looked like all of that and more Thursday, with a dynamic modernistic facade, colorful banners hanging above the entryway from the parking lot giving it the look of a professional metropolitan theater, an elegant lobby adorned with colorful artwork, and the eye-popping auditorium itself.
– By Scott Hettrick