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New Performing Arts Theater To Be Dedicated At Local High School

An undated rendering shows Patrick Henry High School's performing arts theater.

Credit: PJHM Architects

Above: An undated rendering shows Patrick Henry High School's performing arts theater.

A long-awaited $16 million performing arts theater at Patrick Henry High School that was partially funded by actress Annette Bening is scheduled to be dedicated by San Diego Unified School District officials on Tuesday.

The nearly 20,000-square-foot theater includes 500 seats. The building replaces an often criticized smaller structure that served as both an auditorium and a cafeteria.

A $40,000 gift from Bening — who has starred in the films "American Beauty" and "The Kids are All Right" — kick-started a campaign to fund extra equipment and amenities that the district couldn't pay for. District officials said the campaign has raised $285,000 so far, with an additional $50,000 pledged.

The project took eight years from planning through construction, and was on the community's wish list for much longer, according to Katherine Nakamura, who formerly represented the Del Cerro and San Carlos neighborhoods on the Board of Education.

She was a primary advocate for the project during her time on the board.

The program for the opening event will include performances by the school's marching band, orchestra, bel canto ensemble, drama and dance students, and alumni brass quintet. Singer/pianist Michael Sanchez, a 2009 alumnus, is also set to perform, according to the district.

The new facility also includes an 8,000-square-foot space for college, career and technical education classes.

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