OCEANSIDE — The public is invited to take a first look at the newly built Oceanside High School Performing Arts Center during an open house and benefit concert this month.
The Performing Arts Center has been a long time coming. The 111-year-old high school has never had a performance hall. Former band director Mark Phelps recalls using the school gymnasium for performances during his tenure.
Construction of the massive 29,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center took two years. The facility includes a 502-seat performance theater, a 120-seat black box theater, a ticket booth, two classrooms, an accessary office, labs, studios and storage areas. It also boasts a state-of-the-art sound system and theater lighting with a catwalk and dimmer room.
“It’s not just a theater, it’s focusing on teaching aspects,” Phelps said. “There’s a recording studio, space you can have construction and a full scenery shop.”
As of Sept. 8, a construction fence is still around the facility while a few finishing touches are being completed. Lisa Contreras, Oceanside Unified School District director of communications, said staff will likely have the keys to the performance center next week.
The facility will be used for rehearsals and performances by music, chorus and drama classes. It will also serve as a hands-on learning environment for careers in the arts.
“The opportunities are endless,” Contreras said. “We’re very excited about it being an icon here in Oceanside.”
The performance center is expected to be utilized by community groups as well. It is located just off I-5 on Mission Avenue, which serves as a gateway to Oceanside.
“It’s a great thing for the school and community,” Phelps said. “I’m biased on this one; I think it’s the nicest thing around. So many aspects of it are first-rate.”
The Performing Arts Center cost $24 million. It was funded through 2008 Proposition H bond funds, which provided $195 million for school district facility improvements.
Phelps, who is an alumnus, will direct the benefit concert Sept. 30. Current students and school alumni, who now work as professional musicians, will play a mix of big band, jazz and classical tunes.
Some musicians will be coming from out of state to perform at their alma mater. Many of the alumni performers are also current or former teachers of Oceanside High School.
Featured performers include Tad Calara (class of 1989), Nova Charle (1993), John Troy (1968), Dan and Cheryl Swem (1968), Lola Gulley (1975) and Chris Chanco (1995).
“It’s a pretty diverse lineup,” Phelps said. “They’re all thrilled and excited to be coming back and making music.”
The performance will close with all musicians on stage for the school fight song.
Attendance is limited to 450. The concert is sponsored by the Oceanside High School Foundation and Alumni Association. All proceeds benefit student scholarships, programs, supplies and facilities.
Residents are also invited to a free open house before the concert. Students will lead guided tours of the facility.
“We welcome them in to see what they did for our kids,” Contreras said.
Sept. 28: 10 a.m. to noon, ribbon cutting
Sept. 30: 10 a.m. to
2 p.m., community open house
Sept. 30: 7 to 9:30 p.m., benefit concert