The newest addition to San Lorenzo High School is hard to miss. Where the Performing Arts Center once stood there is now a large hole in the ground. Fortunately, the hole will be replaced with a magnificent new Performing Arts Center that will be completed around fall of 2014.
At 11, 830 square feet this high-tech structure is by far an improvement from the old PAC, which was too small to suit the Drama program’s needs. Designed to evoke the feeling of being immersed in a redwood forest, the plan for the new Performing Arts Center fits the San Lorenzo Valley spirit. The architects also took into consideration the design of the existing buildings while maintaining a modern look. “We wanted the new Performing Arts Center to stand out, but at the same time be cohesive with the rest of the school,” stated Ms. van Putten. The new Performing Arts Center will boast many features including a modern sound and lighting system, a glass lobby, 215 seats(a major improvement from the old folding chairs), public rest rooms, air conditioning, and a large stage and catwalks for managing lighting. All of these features combine to make the ideal PAC. In the old PAC, there was not enough room on the stage, it would be stuffy and hot during performances, and the sound and lighting were of poor quality. In the new PAC none of these factors will distract from or diminish the performance.
The project, which is being constructed by Tombleson Inc., is costing $5,249,513 which is slightly under budget. This large amount of money originated from bonds, which is money taxpayers agree to pay. This bond was specifically for building projects, and the rebuilding of the Performing Arts Center was a priority. The school district decided to rebuild the Performing Arts Center before Principal van Putten came to San Lorenzo Valley High, but Ms. van Putten knew the district was making the right decision. “When I saw all of those talented kids shoved in the tiny costume room, and trying to perform on the tiny stage, I knew that the drama program deserved a lot better.” Many students including Rebecca Hargraves agree.
Rebecca is a senior at SLV and has been participating in the drama program for years. While Rebecca is thrilled about the new PAC she can’t help but feel the new building is overdue. Initially, the school had plans for a PAC six years ago, but other things, such as new sports facilities, got in the way. Rebecca and other drama students also miss their old home. “It feels weird not doing shows in the old PAC, I had an attachment to the building, even though it did feel temporary,” claims Rebecca. Despite the fact that the SLV drama program does not have a current “home” they are still practicing at the school and performing their current play 12 Angry Jurors at Park Hall in Ben Lomond. No matter the circumstances, the show will, fortunately, go on. When I asked Rebecca specifically what she thought about the new PAC she summed up her feelings perfectly, “I am sad that the old theatre was torn down because it was such a big part of my life, but I am really happy for the future SLV drama students to have a state of the art theatre to perform in, and I cannot wait to visit the new PAC as an alumni.” Due to the talent of the SLV drama students and the new PAC, the SLV drama program has a very bright future.
Participants in the drama program are not the only people who are excited about the new PAC, April Martin-Hansen, a sophomore, can’t wait until the PAC is finished her junior year. “The new theatre is going to be really cool and I am really looking forward to seeing more plays in the new, modern theatre. It will make the drama program that much more special,” states April. Senior Celia Hare is also excited about the new building. “The PAC will look really professional and I am definitely going to see plays as an alumni.” Ms. van Putten believes that the new PAC with its larger seating arrangement and improved visibility will draw in bigger crowds. “I want the kids to feel like they are performing in a professional theatre, and I want everyone in the crowd to see the play, not just the people in the front row, which is what happened in the old PAC.” When the new PAC opens next year it is bound to draw in crowds and accentuate the talent of the SLV performers. Just like many of the SLV drama students, the PAC is bound to make a memorable and theatrical debut.