1. What is the new Performing Arts Center and who will use it?
The Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art 25,100 square foot theatre that provides a performing space for the three performing arts groups at Paly, and the 450 students per year that participate in them: drama, vocal music and instrumental music. The building has a full fly tower (which allows for scenery and backdrops to be lowered and raised out of view of the audience), an orchestra pit with a hydraulic lift (which allows the pit to be covered and used for additional seating or extended stage), a state-of-the-art Meyer’s sound system to optimize the aural experience of the audience, significant storage space for costumes and sets, and the theatre arts classroom. The building seats up to 584 people, including 37 “removable” seats for the orchestra pit cover. It will also be used by the entire school for group meetings and presentations, parents’ nights, and guest speakers.
2. How has the building paid for?
In 2008, Palo Alto voters approved the issuance of $378,000,000 facilities bonds, for use to bring the PAUSD’s facilities up to modern standards. A committee was formed at each school site to decide how to spend the funds. At Paly, a new Math/Social Sciences building, a Media Art Center, a new Athletics Stadium and improvements to the Tower Building have been completed. The Performing Arts Center will officially open on October 1, 2016. The total projected cost of the Performing Arts Center is $29M, including landscaping and the redesign of the parking lot.
3. Why are you fundraising?
While the bond funds have been used to their maximum effect for a first class building, including a generous allocation for FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment), there are needs that cannot be funded by the bond, for example, a grand piano, risers, music stands, a podium, wireless mics, new tables and chairs for the lobby for events, etc. The performing arts staff has developed a list of these items totally appropriately $400,000.
4. What will happen to the Haymarket Theatre?
The Haymarket is a historical building and will remain. It will continue to be used for guest speakers, lectures, assemblies and meetings as appropriate. There are no current plans to update or restore the Haymarket Theatre.
5. When will the Performing Arts Center open?
It’s open! The Official Opening will occur on October 1, 2016. More information will be posted here and on the Paly website as it becomes available.
6. Will the Center be available for rental or use by others?
The Paly administration has decided that at least for the first academic year, the Performing Arts Center will be used only for Paly purposes, and because the Spangenberg Theatre will be renovated through the 2016-17 academic year, the Gunn High School performing arts groups. After this period, the District and the Paly administration will determine the availability of the PAC for rentals.
7. Who will run the Performing Arts Center?
The District currently employs a Theatre Facilities Supervisor who will be responsible for all scheduling of the PAC, in addition to the Haymarket Theatre and the Spangenberg Theatre at Gunn High School.
8. How can I contribute?
You can donate by clicking here. The Palo Alto High School Performing Arts Boosters group has been formed to support all three performing arts groups and the building itself. Each branch of the Performing Arts will continue to have its own booster group, which will continue its fundraising as usual. The Performing Arts Boosters will focus specifically on capital and building specific needs.