Starting this fall, the oldest high school campus in the Long Beach Unified School District will be transformed into a 21st Century learning environment. Located on the site of the first high school in Los Angeles County (outside of the City of Los Angeles), Renaissance High School for the Arts will be renovated, and two new buildings added.
"Students and staff are excited that we will have new, modern facilities that reflect the pride and stature at Renaissance High School," said Principal Quentin Brown. "As one of the top high schools in the area, we expect that the new campus will result in greater visibility for our school."
The $28 million project will include removal of portable classrooms, creation of a new media center and installation of air conditioning throughout the campus. The most eagerly anticipated upgrade is the addition of a 240-seat "black box" theater, which will enable some school productions to be performed on campus.
"Since this campus was opened in 2004 as a visual and performing arts magnet school, we have had to rent space or borrow another school’s auditorium for stage productions," said Brown. "Our students and staff are really looking forward to having this new theater space."
The 500 students at Renaissance will be housed for the next two years at the site of the former Butler School.
Each year, Renaissance students perform two dance programs and a musical stage production, which is open to the public. Because these events draw large community audiences, the school will likely continue to rent venues such as the Long Beach Convention Center for major productions.
"With our location in downtown Long Beach and our collaborations with professionals in the visual and performing arts, we anticipate that our offerings and productions will become even more numerous and visible," said Brown.
Originally built as Long Beach High School 1898, the campus was completely rebuilt twice after it was destroyed by fire in 1918 and again by the Long Beach earthquake of 1933. The studios of the school district's Office of Media Services, which is housed on the campus, will also be renovated and improved.