Anticipation is building as Camarillo residents watch the ongoing construction of Rancho Campana High School, the long-awaited campus on Las Posas Road slated to open its doors this fall.
More than a state-of-the-art high school, the campus will include a performing arts center— the city’s first large-scale indoor venue for concerts and plays. The theater will be completed in the spring.
Rancho Campana High School Principal Roger Adams said the performing arts center will be the centerpiece of the new campus. He said it will be used as a showcase for talent and a place for learning.
The academy-based school will have three areas of focus—health and biological sciences, engineering, and arts and entertainment— and will follow a Linked Learning Alliance model, helping students gain real-world experience through partnerships with community and business leaders.
Adams said the arts center will be open to groups and service organizations in Camarillo.
“We don’t only want to create opportunities for students,” he said. “We want the community to have a part as well. We are going to be open and working with our community. Non-RCHS organizations conducting charitable, civic, community, cultural or educational activities (that) are appropriate for such facilities will have access to use the performing arts center under Oxnard Union High School board policy.”
The 27,500-square-foot facility is a portion of the campus being built on 28 acres behind the Camarillo Public Library. District officials have said the campus will cost $76.3 million to complete.
Work on Oxnard Union High School District’s newest school is scheduled to be complete in August, several weeks before the first day of school on Sept. 2. Once its doors open, the school will house about 400 students—200 ninthgraders and 200 10th-graders.
Adams said that when construction is complete on the performing arts center in March 2016, Rancho Campana’s arts and theater students will use the venue daily.
“Activities will include arts exhibitions, drama events, musical and literary festivals, dance exhibitions and shows, concerts and productions to support the ongoing activities of all three linked-learning academies,” he said.
The performing arts center is the largest structure on the Rancho Campana site.
It will have all the amenities expected of a performance hall, including a 699-seat theater with 12 wheelchair stations, dressing rooms and an area to construct and hold production set pieces.
The building will also have a smaller performance area called a black box theater. Above the main stage will be a fly loft, an area where components such as curtains, lights, stage effects and scenery are lowered and raised. There will also be a lobby, restrooms, a custodian’s closet, and ticketing and concession areas.
According to construction updates, work on the performing arts center is on schedule. The concrete walls of the black box and main stage theaters are complete. The structural steel used to form the remainder of the audience chamber will arrive this month. The roofing, windows and plaster work will continue at the venue and the campus’ other seven buildings.
The performing arts center is one of two buildings not expected to be finished by early August. The other building, next to the center, includes classrooms, a computer lab and a dance hall. Rancho Campana’s arts and entertainment students will use other campus facilities until the performing arts facility is finished.
Adams said the school district is excited about the opening of Rancho Campana and the performing arts center.
“With the opening of the school, the smiles on the students’ faces will reflect all of the hard work from everyone that was part of the process,” he said.