Unveiling the curtains to a new theater

With the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) planning to improve the school facility to meet the “benchmark”- the standards that every school has to meet – administration recently shared plans for the upcoming construction of the new theater.
“The district has a Facilities Master Plan that lasts 15 years. [They ask], ‘What is the current standard for the elementary, middle, and high school?’” principal Christopher Krebs said.
According to Superintendent Terry Walker, Measure E, the school facilities bond that was placed on the June 7 ballot by the IUSD Board of Education and passed with 60 percent of the vote, will be used to help modernize the new theater, which has been on the list of facilities in need of an upgrade. The new theater will be two stories, and it will include a green room, rehearsal space for both dance and music students, along with a black box room.

Students can expect a more spacious layout with multiple facets that had not been available with the current theater, according to Krebs.
The Measure E facilities bond grants each school the funds necessary to upgrade the school; however, each year, they prioritize which schools and facilities to improve. Irvine High also had plans for constructing its new theater. However, because it would require them to demolish the current theater and construct a whole new facility, Woodbridge High received the benefit from the Measure E bond.
“We’re on our fourth planning meeting… The next thing is to make sure that it’s all within the budget, because if it’s out of budget, we have to figure out where we’re going to cut back,” music director Joslynne Blasdel said.
Extra space, along with a modern theater, will give students the opportunity to take better advantage of their resources. The new theater may generate more excitement for productions in general, being able to provide for a larger audience along with a more professional atmosphere.
The current theater will undergo remodeling, but because of funds, the project will be pushed as a later option.
“There will be a student union building, and we are hoping to have lecture halls and work rooms available for the students,” Krebs said.
Junior Jonah Batac is hoping the new addition to school will provide the drama program with a stronger spotlight, allowing them to perform at a more professional stage.
“I expect [the new theater] to bring a lot more money into the drama program seeing as it will most likely bring more people from the community to see our shows,” Batac said.
The new design of the theater is an upgrade from the current layout and will add some much needed space for performers.
“Since the stage is going to be considerably larger we will have bigger sets and backstage. Our current situation is very cramped, so it’s exciting that everything will be larger,” junior Rowan Biggs said.
“Also, because the dressing rooms are so tiny we have to change in waves and some costume changes even happen in the wings of the stage.”
It will take approximately seven and a half months to get the plan approved by the state, with another two months to go through the school board and hire the company that will construct the theater. Construction may take around 14 months, which will possibly take place June 1, 2018 and end August 1, 2019.