Hoover High opens $15.4 million performing arts center

Hoover School and city officials participated Thursday in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $15.4 million performing arts center at Hoover High School.

Dozens of people gathered for the grand opening of the 36,000 square foot facility, which will be built right next to the new music hall at Hoover High near Buccaneer Stadium.

A hallway will connect the music room to the performing arts center, which will include a 940-seat auditorium, a full theatrical lighting and sound package, and an on-site stage construction workshop, among other features.

The current theater at Hoover High seats 270 people, which the theater’s proponents say is much smaller than theaters at other major Alabama schools and not large enough to handle the crowds that fine art shows Hoover arts attract.

School officials say 47% of Hoover High students are involved in some kind of fine arts.

Additionally, school officials said they would like to have an auditorium that can accommodate a full grade level at Hoover High, which currently has about 2,900 students.

“The community is thrilled and our students are thrilled,” Hoover High principal John Montgomery said in a news release. “It’s something they’ve needed for a long time. Our children are great artists. They win national and state competitions, but they don’t have a place here to perform, so for us to have a first-class facility for them to perform for the community is going to be such a blessing.

Dalton Dismukes, a performing arts student, said having this performing arts center to showcase the hard work of the students would be such a gift.

“We had to perform our band concerts in gymnasiums. We had to find churches that would allow us to use their space to give concerts, and now having a center specifically for those shows will be a wonderful opportunity,” Dismukes said.

Blalock Building Co, which won the contract to build the center on August 1, expects it will take 16 to 17 months to complete the project.