City Manager Robert C. Bobb will go before the board of the Santa Ana Unified School District on Tuesday with an $8-million proposal to upgrade Santa Ana High School's auditorium. The proposal is an attempt to attract cultural groups to base their operations in the city.
Despite some speculation that the district will reject the plan, Supt. Ed Krass stressed that no decision has been made. "There has been a lot of speculation and talk and meetings, but nothing is set in concrete yet," he said.
The proposal calls for a $4-million refurbishing of the auditorium that would slightly reduce the current 16,000-seat capacity and improve the air conditioning, sound system, stage, orchestra pit and curtains.
The other $4 million would go toward acquisition of a two-block area north of the school, located at 520 W. Walnut St., for construction of a parking lot. Funds would also pay for the costs of relocating people living there. The high school now has no parking lot and teachers and students park on the street.
Santa Ana has set aside redevelopment funds for the project and the district has applied for state Green Act funds to be used for rehabilitation of school buildings more than 30 years old, said Anthony Dalessi, assistant superintendent.
Several groups have used the auditorium during the past five years, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera and the Orange County Master Chorale as well as several recording companies, said Dalessi. The city hopes to continue to attract such groups when the new Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa opens and, as expected, draws some performances to that city.
The existing Santa Ana facility contains classrooms that would be demolished under the proposal, but the school would still be able to use the auditorium during the day. The board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the district office, 1405 S. French St.