Ceres Unified School District officials are excited about a number of building projects underway, one of which will bring new looks and utility to the oldest structure on the Ceres High School campus.
The small gym, which was built in 1908, is undergoing a $6.3 million renovation. The project will receive mostly interior renovations but will sport new paint inside and out, windows and roofing, updated restrooms, stage curtains and stage lighting, audio/video equipment, a dedicated control room, LED lighting, all new electrical service, new fixtures, and a new sound system. Classrooms and locker rooms will also be brought up to date.
The modernized facility will continue to accommodate athletics and will provide an on-campus option for music/theater performances in a modernized space. In addition, classrooms will be available for performing arts courses and other instructional needs.
“It’s going to be gorgeous,” said Assistant Superintendent Dan Pangrazio.
The CHS project started about a year ago and has another three months to go. The project has been delayed with the challenge in securing building materials. The milling of wood and manufacturing of building materials has been hampered by the pandemic and state regulations that shut down the economy.
The larger project underway is the Ric Campero Performing Arts Center undergoing construction at Central Valley High School. The $9 million project broke ground in June and is anticipated to be completed by January 2023 with the first performances taking place soon after.
The 5,000-square-foot black-box theater will serve as a district-wide performance venue for CUSD’s band, choir and drama students, offering a floor-level stage and 400 retractable seats that can be configured to accommodate a variety of needs. The venue will also include overhead stage lighting, a dedicated lighting and sound room, and an off-stage green room.
While the old gym was used for Ceres High School drama productions, the Ric Campero Performing Arts Center at CVHS will be available for use by CHS students.
“It’s going to be used by our whole school district. We’ll have a whole facility use process for that. It’s going to be an active place that serves the whole district and community.”
The Ceres High gym will be “a whole mini version of that,” said Pangrazio. “They’re going to be getting state of the art lighting and sound and stage is going to be awesome and the seating is going to be great.”
CHS drama classes will have the option of using the improved old gym or the new arts center at CVHS.
Both facilities will be equipped with digital set backdrops behind the actors.
“The drama teachers are just salivating,” said Supt. Denise Wickham.
Students will be able to work to program the digital art for the stage backdrops.