El Sereno – It looks like the biggest arts and culture center in El Sereno will end up at Woodrow Wilson Senior High.
School board member Mónica Garca said the Los Angeles School Board approved spending $26 million to build a visual and performing arts center on the hilltop campus. Completion is expected by 2025.
There will be large flexible spaces that will serve as classrooms and performance spaces, a stage, dance and choir rooms, a large digital/graphic arts classroom, and an atrium where students can display their works. Outside, an amphitheater with a stage will be built near a garden.
Wilson has active visual and performing arts programs, but facilities are cramped and “below average,” said Wilson Mules Alumni Association board member Peter Cabrera. “A new modern facility, equipped with proper sound, lighting and dressing room. will surely improve their confidence and performance.”
Finish the “W”
The performing arts center will complement the school’s layout, which roughly resembles a “W”, with smaller buildings that span both sides of a central tower.
Tomas Benitez, another Wilson alumnus, said the school, which moved to the existing campus in 1970 from Eastern Avenue, was designed by pioneering African-American architect Paul Williams.
Williams designed Wilson with a five-story central tower. According to the Paul R. Williams Project, it was called the first “high-rise” school in the county and the first public school in California with elevators.
“Fifty-one years later, we still await the brilliant completed design of the late great architect, Paul Williams,” Benitez said. “It’s time to finish the ‘W’.”