BY DAVID JAMES HEISS
The Banning High School Performing Arts Center had a grand opening that rivaled any Hollywood premiere, with the landscaping and exterior adorned with extra lights, a JROTC color guard procession, and pom poms. – enthusiastic Broncos cheerleaders.
Current and past school board members and trustees, city council members and those who were instrumental in bringing the design and construction to fruition were among the dignitaries who attended the Nov. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony. .
Performers from nearly every school in the district performed skits and songs, to underscore the benefit of the performing arts opportunities the $25.5 million, 676-seat theater offers.
“It will be a place the community can call home and where our children can thrive,” said Director of Studies Tonia Causey-Bush in her remarks to guests. “It will be a place where students can fulfill their dreams.”
School board chairman Jason Smith said, “It’s absolutely beautiful. The architects hit the nail on the head with this one.
Director Matt Valdivia explained that this “grand edifice has a distinct and deep history”, in that nearly five years ago what began as a grassroots campaign for an accommodations bond in which ratepayers of the city responded to “the proverbial bell” and approved funding for the 27,000 square foot performing arts center and adjacent vocational technical education building.
He called the center a “game changer”, predicting it could “quickly become the crown jewel of the Pass region” as a performing arts centre.
County Superintendent Edwin Gomez explained the importance of cultivating “gifts and talent.”
“Places like this add to the level of education and the value of achieving their dreams,” Gomez said.
Editor David James Heiss can be reached at [email protected], and messages can be left at (951) 849-4586 x114.