Cen­ter stage

Per­form­ing arts spot at Sau­gus High School more than half­way done

The Signal - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Cox Sig­nal Staff Writer

A state-of-the art build­ing made an ap­pear­ance along Cen­tu­rion Way next to the en­trance of Sau­gus High School on Thurs­day dur­ing a me­dia tour.

Dubbed “The Fo­rum,” the 19,000-square-foot, 468-seat per­form­ing arts cen­ter is ex­pected to open to stu­dents, staff and the com­mu­nity by April 2018.

“We’ve waited for this, we’ve put our hearts and souls into it,” said Gina Painter, a drama teacher at Sau­gus High. “The fact that the project is go­ing through and it’s hap­pen­ing and we get to per­form on that stage, we’re all just so over the moon about it.”

Nine years ago, the Hart dis­trict an­nounced its plans to build a per­form­ing arts fa­cil­ity on the Sau­gus High School cam­pus with the pas­sage of Mea­sure SA, a $300 mil­lion school fa­cil­i­ties bond.

The cen­ter is be­ing fully funded through Mea­sure SA.

“The to­tal project is $18.3 mil­lion and that bud­get is bro­ken into two pieces, there is a hard cost and a soft cost,” said Mike Otavka, di­rec­tor of fa­cil­i­ties, plan­ning and con­struc­tion for the Hart dis­trict.

Hard costs, re­lat­ing to con­struc­tion of the build­ing, to­tal $13.5 mil­lion and soft costs, which in­clude items like fees and in­spec­tions, ac­cord­ing to Otavka.

For­mer Sau­gus High School Prin­ci­pal Bill Bolde and his staff be­gan the plan­ning process for the per­form­ing arts cen­ter in 2011. They de­signed the build­ing in a “Cen­tu­rion theme” with plans that were artis­tic in na­ture and gave a nod to school’s Ro­man char­ac­ter­is­tics.

“There are a lot of peo­ple that have been look­ing for­ward to this day and in this mo­ment when we can open this,” said Bolde, who is re­tir­ing from his post as prin­ci­pal this sum­mer. “This is re­ally a point of pride not just for the stu­dents and staff of Sau­gus High School, but the thou­sands

of peo­ple that drive by Bou­quet Canyon ev­ery sin­gle day. They look over here and see this is some­thing spe­cial.”

Once com­plete, the fa­cil­ity will not be a square box, like most per­form­ing arts cen­ters through­out the state. In­stead, it will in­clude curved walls, a glass en­try­way, a fly room for set rig­ging and LED light­ing through­out.

“What sets this build­ing apart is the ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign of it… We have not done a build­ing like this be­fore,” said Bryan Ay­lor, project man­ager with TELACU Con­struc­tion Man­age­ment. “I think this will be­come a fo­cal point of the school.”

The build­ing’s first row of seats can also be re­moved to cre­ate an orches­tra pit and the cen­ter’s drama room can also dou­ble as a black box the­ater.

“The tech­nol­ogy and the state-of-the-art the­ater we are about to put these kids into changes the game com­pletely,” Painter said. “We all have to step up now. I have to step up my di­rect­ing game, and the kids have to fill up that room with their voices and with their per­for­mance.”

Painter said the new fa­cil­ity will bet­ter fit the ex­pand­ing the­ater pro­gram at Sau­gus High School and will bring the school’s pro­duc­tions to a pro­fes­sional level.

“I think that bring­ing our pro­gram now to a pro­fes­sional the­ater is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity for our stu­dents,” she said.

The space will also of­fer per­for­mance op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents in choir, march­ing band, jazz band and dance. It also will in­clude a place for stu­dents in wood­shop to build props and scenes for the stage.

“When we have the space, when we have the room and when we have the bud­get for it, we can turn out some great fa­cil­i­ties for our kids to be safe on and learn on and have ac­cess to ev­ery­thing they need,” Hart dis­trict Board Pres­i­dent Joe Messina said.

In­com­ing Sau­gus High School Prin­ci­pal Vince Ferry said the fa­cil­ity will also act as a place to rec­og­nize the rich his­tory of Sau­gus High School per­form­ing arts and wel­come to com­mu­nity to the high school’s cam­pus.

“I know Mr. Bolde has worked hard at mak­ing this a com­mu­nity the­ater and I am go­ing to carry on that vi­sion,” Ferry said. “I’m ex­cited about it and the stage it­self and the many great per­for­mances and see­ing the tal­ent flour­ish.”

Dan Wat­son/For The Sig­nal

Elec­tri­cians in­stall elec­tri­cal con­duit in the au­di­to­rium of the Sau­gus High School Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter on Thurs­day in Sau­gus. The school held a tour of the fa­cil­ity to up­date the com­mu­nity on con­struc­tion.

Dan Wat­son/For The Sig­nal

A group stands on the stage of the Sau­gus High School Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter dur­ing a tour on Thurs­day in Sau­gus.

Dan Wat­son/For The Sig­nal Sau­gus High School drama teacher Gina Painter, left, and Sau­gus High School Prin­ci­pal Bill Bolde smile as they view the back­stage drama room of the Sau­gus High School Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter.

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