$14M Renovation Starts at Polytechnic High
When the Polytechnic High School auditorium was first opened in 1930, no one could predict that just three years later it would be severely damaged in a 6.4 earthquake.
During the earthquake, the unreinforced concrete auditorium suffered structural damage requiring substantial repairs, but it remained standing, unlike many other buildings that were destroyed on campus and throughout the City of Long Beach.
The auditorium was rebuilt and re-opened in 1935 but it has not been renovated since.
In January of this year, a $14 million interior renovation project started on the 80-year-old building. Upgrades will include seismic strengthening of the structure, the addition of an elevator and lifts for accessibility, installation of new restrooms, stage lighting, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, fire alarms and sprinklers, acoustical ceiling, roofing and seating.
"This is a major facelift that will make the building safe for another 50 or more years while increasing the accessibility and utility of the auditorium for generations to come," said Tova Corman, executive director of Facilities Development and Planning for the school district.
Careful planning and coordination with preservation experts will allow historic details of the building to be saved while improvements occur. For example, Art Deco doors and signs in the lobby will be preserved, and dark oak seats are being refurbished. The exterior facade, with its smooth plaster walls, vertical pilasters with decorative fins and copper parapet, will also remain intact. The estimated completion for the project is summer 2016.
As the first public high school in Long Beach, Polytechnic originally opened in 1895 as Long Beach High School. Since then, the "Home of Scholars and Champions" has earned numerous distinctions in academics, performing arts and athletics.
The PACE (Program of Additional Curricular Experiences) and the CIC (Center for International Curriculum) magnet programs boast more total University of California admissions than any other high school in California.
Polytechnic’s music program has been recognized as one of America’s best by the Grammy Foundation.
In 2010-11, ESPN named Polytechnic the top sports program in the nation. In 2005, Sports Illustrated Magazine named Polytechnic the "Sports School of the Century," applauding Polytechnic's badminton, baseball, basketball, football, track, cross country, swimming, water polo, tennis, golf and softball teams. Polytechnic has sent 60 players to the NFL, more than any other high school in history.