The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

On with the show…

The City College auditorium, undergoing extensive renovation, is due to be completed in Spring 2012. Photo by || Vincent Fernandez

With a backdrop of scrap metals, gutted rooms and yellow caution tape, the curtains are temporarily closed inside City Theatre.  City College’s Auditorium and Art Court Theatre, under reconstruction since June is expected to be completed in spring of 2012, according to Robert Martinelli, City College’s vice president of administrative services.

The changes, Martinelli says, are long overdue.  “At Sac City, we have buildings from the ’30s, ’60s and so on” Martinelli says. “They are very old [including the auditorium], and [are] without modern technology, such as air conditioning and lighting system.”

The original theater was erected in 1936, and over the years has housed performing arts for the school and Sacramento community.  “[The] theater faculty is particularly excited considering their old space was almost unworkable,” Martinelli says.  In addition to upgrades to the heating and lighting systems, equipment, furniture, the re¬strooms will be brought into compliance with the Americans With Disability Act, according to Martinelli.

Some students are glad construction work is being done to improve the seemingly substandard theater. According to some, many of the facilities are lacking.

“The men’s bathroom is in terrible shape,” says City College student Edwin Yee. “One of the toilet stall’s doors doesn’t close all the way, nor can it be locked. And they could use a new sink.”

Some of the changes include decreasing seating in the new auditorium by nearly half in order to create a new balcony, a new movable stage, a new orchestra pit and new lighting.

“The auditorium [currently] consists of 1,100 seats, a stage, seven classrooms and offices located throughout the building,” Martinelli says. “We have temporarily lost these features due to the reconstruction. In the meantime, students and faculty needed to be placed in temporary spaces, which is an inconvenience. However, we must keep our eye on the prize.”
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The reconstruction is not limited to the performance areas of the A-Wing; the bathrooms and classrooms are also being renovated.

“All classrooms in the Auditorium will now be ‘smart rooms,’ [equipped with computers, projectors, DVDs, VCRs, cable TV, and other tools]. Many of the departments will [also] be able to purchase new equipment for their classes,” says Chris Iwata, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts Division. “The performance-based programs, such as music and theater, will benefit from having fully functional spaces in which their classes can be taught and their performances held. Our students will benefit from classes taught with much of the equipment and technology to maximize the effectiveness of an already excellent group of faculty.”

New equipment and structural changes will improve the performance area in the Auditorium. Before the remodel, the theater had no sound system, no theatrical lighting system, and poor acoustics. After the remodel, all of these issues will be resolved, according to Iwata.

While the new, comfortable seats selected for the remodeled space will reduce the number of seats from 1,100 to approximately 700, the Sacramento community will also benefit from the reconstruction by having the opportunity to attend events in a comfortable, state-of-the-art performance space, according to Iwata.

While the total cost of construction is $12,973,000 and will provide City College students with a new venue for enjoying performance art, all of the historical artifacts have been left intact, according to Greg Hayman, Director of Operations on campus.

“I welcome the remodel of the Auditorium and Art Court Theatre,” Iwata says “My faculty, staff and I very much looking forward to continuing to provide instruction in the newly remodeled spaces.”

Additional Reporting by Maurice Conner

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