Community celebrates grand opening of El Camino theater
More than 400 members of the San Juan Unified and El Camino Fundamental High School community celebrated the grand opening of the school’s brand new Center for the Arts on Dec. 3.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by the first live performance in the new 500-seat theater, as the band and choir performed the El Camino Alma Mater and Fight Song, and guests were then able to tour the facility during an open house.
Band Director Kevin Glaser spoke on behalf of the school’s staff and arts department, saying he has often been asked during construction of the new building if he would change anything. He said “no, just that I would have done it 25 years ago.”
El Camino has earned a reputation among the region’s top visual and performing arts programs. However, students have either had to perform in the cafeteria or rent a local facility to showcase their talents.
The Center for the Arts now compliments its talented students with a large stage, an orchestra pit, acoustic wall panels, stage lighting, a catwalk, a lobby where student artwork will be displayed, and a control room. The orchestra pit includes a filler that will allow for 100 additional seats, making room for a total capacity of 600.
San Juan Unified Board of Education President Pam Costa spoke on behalf of her board colleagues. She noted how important the arts are to San Juan Unified and thanked the community for its support of bond measures that make school improvements like the Center for the Arts possible.
The theater is the third signature project to open under the board’s 2012 commitment to upgrade facilities that highlight each of the district’s nine high school’s top programs. Prior to El Camino, Rio Americano opened a Center for the Arts to highlight its performing arts and CIvitas programs and Bella Vista High School received a science wing.