Robert Frost Makeover

Plans+for+new+Robert+Frost+exterior

Plans for new Robert Frost exterior

Erin Krantz

Starting this school year, the Robert Frost auditorium is being remodeled inside and out. The remodel has been a project that has been meaning to get through for several years. The study to see if a remodel could be done and if the building’s structural integrity has held up since the 1960s took place in 2012, while the actual start of the construction took place on October 10, 2016. It is expected to be done December 2017. The remodel is being done by the architectural company Hodgetts and Fung (H + F), which was chosen because of its specialization in theatrical buildings.
There will be many changes made to the building including new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, a complete remodel of the backstage area and the Black Box performing space, a large arch and catwalk, a remodel of the exterior, and, to the delight of some students, all of the seats will be refurbished. This large project is completely funded by the $106 million Measure CC Bond that was passed in 2014. The reconstruction also has has complicated elements too. To Mike Reynolds, the Assistant Superintendent of Business, the most challenging part was the catwalk. “..[M]ost of the Frost is essentially a single concrete structure, which means that the arch cannot be built outside of the building and then moved into place as a single piece”. Hopefully it will it will be worth it to have it for a professional lighting system in the auditorium.
While the remodel of the auditorium may lead to many good results in the future, right now, there are some problems that various school groups face when planning activities that were held in Robert Frost auditorium in previous years. One such group is ASB, who held various assemblies, including ones for Homecoming and the beginning of school, in the auditorium. They are now tasked with finding new methods to deal with the lack of venue. On the first day of school, an assembly was held in the school gym, which is much more limited in space and had to have a temporary stage put up in it. The Homecoming assembly was replaced by a video that was played during Centaur Plus in students’ fourth period classrooms. This was difficult to do for the Publicity Officer, Gabriella Lopez. “I was only given like a week and a half to do it, so that was really stressful on top of the fact that there was no other option.”  Only her and Merrick Padilla worked on the making of the video, along with the actors rather than the usual larger planning crew used for assemblies. In the past, there has been a multicultural assembly hosted in the auditorium having representatives recite poems, perform dances, and model fashions from their various cultures. This year, they have a different approach. There is plan of doing a multicultural fair instead, much like how the club fair is done, which may be done over the course of a week.
The various departments of AVPA have also had to find new venues to hold their various performances in place of the Frost. The dance department actually had their fall dance concert, A Walking Nightmare, around the campus of Culver City High School. The dances incorporated the bushes near the senior lawn, the steps up to the library, and the tables on the lunch patio, etc. While being outside proved be useful in that it allowed for even more creative numbers, it meant that the Sunday performance the weekend of the concert had to be rescheduled due to rain. While this did not interrupt the flow of classes too drastically, it still proved to be an inconvenience.
The theater department also had to find where to hold their fall play, Almost Maine, and where they will have their spring musical(or, rather, their “Musical Revue”). The play was held at the Actors’ Gang theatre. Dealing with tech away their own turf was “strenuous” says Isabella Chardiet, a junior in theater. Lugging all the equipment and setting it up “was just overall very hard, like doing the lights. I was on lighting crew, and that was so hard because we couldn’t even put the lights up ourselves, we had to get other people to do it.”  17 years ago, the musical Little Shop of Horrors was done in room 94, which hosts band and the music department. However, this idea was much contended. Instead, the spring musical this year is planned to be held in Veterans auditorium, which will be interesting without a formal orchestra pit.
The music department has been using Veterans auditorium for their various concerts. Before, moving the various large instruments, chairs, and stand could be easily done during school hours by students in music classes without too much of a hassle. However, this year, it is more complicated and involves trucks and more difficult time constraints. Thankfully, the Veteran’s Auditorium staff have been very accommodating in the process of moving bass drums, chimes, timpani, music stands, and other equipment in the days before concerts. Dr. Tony Spano, the Director of the Music Department, has had to deal with the hassle, but is excited for the outcome. “It’ll feel like we are in a different building. And that’ll be fun, and with state of the art equipment  and it’ll be really clean and bright, and it’s just gonna be a lot of fun.”  The way centaurs have reacted to not being able to use the auditorium is captured by what Lopez said when describing the members of ASB, “We are all creative in our own ways”.
Overall, people are excited for the remodeling of the building, despite the complications that they have come to face without being able to use the convenient venue. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy the results sooner rather than later.

Plans for Robert Frost interior