BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
Banning High School’s Performing Arts Center had a grand opening that rivaled any Hollywood premiere, with the landscaping and exterior adorned with additional lights, a procession of JROTC color guards and pom -Broncos cheerleaders screaming with excitement.
Current and past school board members and administrators, city council members and those who were instrumental in the design and construction until completion were among the dignitaries who attended the dedication ceremony November 15.
Performers from nearly every school in the district performed skits and songs, to highlight the benefit of the performing arts opportunities offered by the $ 25.5 million, 676-seat theater.
“It will be a place that the community can call home and where our children can thrive,” Academic Director Tonia Causey-Bush said in remarks to the guests. âIt will be a place where students can make their dreams come true. “
School board president Jason Smith said, âIt’s absolutely beautiful. The architects have hit the nail on the head with this one.
Director Matt Valdivia explained that this “great edifice has a distinct and deep history” in that almost five years ago what started as a popular campaign for a facility requirement in which taxpayers of the city responded to “the proverbial bell” and approved funding for the 27,000 square foot performing arts center and the adjacent technical vocational education building.
He called the center a “game changer,” predicting it could “quickly become the crown jewel of the Pass area” as a center for the performing arts.
County Superintendent Edwin Gomez explained the importance of cultivating âgifts and talentâ.
âPlaces like this add to the level of education and the value of achieving their dreams,â Gomez said.
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