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Theaters nearly complete

West Ranch, Golden Valley high schools performing arts centers are expected to finish under budget

Posted: August 21, 2009 9:06 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Work continues on a new performing arts center at West Ranch High School, which was paid for by Measure V, passed in 2001.

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Students at Golden Valley and West Ranch high schools will soon have their own venues for concerts and presentations as construction on theaters at the two schools nears completion.

The projects, which total an estimated $5 million, were funded primarily by Measure V, a $160 million bond measure approved by local voters in 2001.

The two newest high schools in the Hart district were built using state hardship funds to relieve student overcrowding at other campuses, but were left with unfinished and unusable auditoriums. School groups had to put on performances at outside venues.

"When you walked into one of those facilities, it was just a very unfinished structure," said Rob Gapper, chief operations officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

District officials set the project budget at $5 million, but Gapper anticipates that the project will be completed under budget.

Construction, which lasted for about four months, is about 75-percent complete and crews are finishing off installation of the stage floor, curtains, seating and audio-video equipment.

Gapper anticipates construction finishing by Sept. 1 with the theaters ready for student-use later by the end of that month, he said.

"A lot of the technical theater and stagecraft elements like lighting and sound equipment is going to give kids an excellent opportunity to experience professional-quality equipment and learn some skills," Gapper said.

West Ranch High School Principal Bob Vincent looks forward to the new theaters and dedication ceremonies in October.

"It's going to be an excellent performance venue," he said.

With West Ranch and Golden Valley's auditoriums almost ready, the Hart district's next project will be the construction of performing arts centers at Canyon and Saugus high schools, Gapper said.

The Hart district will begin designing the centers "very soon" and the project is expected to cost between $10 and $12 million, he said.

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