A public tour of The Performing Arts Education Center (PEAC) of Las Virgenes, located on the campus of , was held Thursday afternoon. In attendance were school district officials, school board members, community members as well as current and past parents.
Such tours will be available every first Thursday of the month.
With the passing of the Measure G construction bond in 2006, two professionally equipped theaters are now being built both in Agoura and at Calabasas High School “We call them fraternal twins because they’re similar but not quite,” said Cindy Iser, a school board member .
Both projects are on time, according to senior project manager Mike Barbera. “The Agoura theater is probably just a week or two ahead of Calabasas but construction for both is moving along as scheduled,” he told those gathered at the Agoura site.
Paula Friedman, a parent of a high school senior, was among those who showed up for the tour. “We try to watch performances at the G building, but it’s always filled to capacity,” she said, referring to the multi-purpose hall where most school performances have been held.
For parents of students actively involved in theater, the PEAC will be a dream come true. “We’re very thrilled about this venue, and we can’t wait for construction to be done,” said Laura Leininger, mom of six whose third child is currently a junior at the high school.
Miki Shelton told Agoura Hills Patch that construction started in 2010 and at a cost of $18.5 million, the expected completion is in late 2012. “It really shows great planning for everyone involved in the project,” said Shelton who is in charge of community outreach and development.
According to Shelton, the fundraising campaign has informally started with naming opportunities available to both corporations and private donors. Potential donors can opt to name the entire theater after themselves or a portion of the theater, such as a specific seat, dressing room or one of the lobbies.
“It’s not going to be a capital campaign though, but it’s fundraising to support the programs that will be in place at the theater, to keep them running,” said Ziona Friedlander, former Parent-Faculty Committee (PFC) chair, whose two children both graduated from Agoura High.
Though the students will benefit from the new theater primarily, it will also be a community gift.
“While it’s designed as an educational space, it’s going to change everything for the community, too,” said Iser. “It’s all about community integration.”
The 650-seater main theater will be a major draw for professional theater groups as well, especially in the summer when school is out. For more intimate performances, a smaller black box theater with flexible seating can accommodate up to 100.
A full orchestra pit with hydraulic lift will be one of many featured attractions when the theater opens its doors, along with the advanced technology for classroom instruction.
“It’s all professional and high-quality from the acoustics to the lighting to the sound system,” said school board member Leslie Stein.
superintendent Donald Zimring, who will be retiring at the end of the school year, was also present during the tour. “It’s unlike any other facility we’ve ever had, and I’m beyond excited,” he said.
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