March 26th was the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Performing Arts Center, Production Studios and Whole Site Modernization at Patrick Henry High School. It was great to have all of the support from the San Diego Unified School District and the Community for this remarkable project. We know that both the District and Community really pulled together to earmark the funds for this large project with their backing of both Propositions S & Z.
The afternoon started off with some heavy rain as the organizers prepared for the ceremony. Luckily the skies began to clear right before the ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance by Patrick Henry High’s own Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. We were then treated with a performance of the National Anthem by the schools choir, and a performance from the recent PHHS production of Phantom of the Opera.
The ceremony then began with remarks from Kevin Beiser, the Board of Education President. Mr. Beiser was very pleased with project, stating “I’m thrilled that we have reached this milestone” and “this is an exciting time for Henry High School’s students and teachers, as well as the Del Cerro and San Carlos communities.” I can assure you that everyone at PJHM Architects is just as excited to reach this milestone and look forward to the dedication ceremony as well.
Next to the podium was Tony Nguyen, a student at PHHS and senior in the Technical Theater Program. To hear a student in the Theater Program so excited about the new Theater made all of the planning and designing worth it. He was really excited that students at Patrick Henry High School will now have state of the art labs for set design, lighting design, set fabrication, audio/visual and mixed media. As an architect, it is very rewarding to hear the excitement from the students about their new facilities. I’m sure I speak for my fellow architects at PJHM when I saw that we hope this theater will inspire will inspire students for years to come.
There were also remarks heard from Katherine Nakamura, who encouraged all to purchase a seat through their foundation to raise funds for theater equipment. Katherine and her Cowles Mountain Community Foundation have been very helpful in raising funds for the Theater.
Lee Dulgeroff, SDUSD’s Facilities Planning and Construction Executive Director, also shared some thoughts on the project. He thanked former Principal Crowder and current Principal Gillingham, along with Vice Principal Jim Good for all of their help throughout the process. Lee introduced the production team, including; Julio Ramos (Project Manager), Carl Schneider (Construction Manager), Greg Schwartz (Project Inspector) and PJHM’s very own, Leo Johnson (Project Architect).
Kevin Ruebel, the contractor and T.B. Penick & Son’s Superintendent also stepped up to say a few words. Kevin has ties to Patrick Henry High School, as he is a member of the community. He shared with us that his wife and two daughters are Henry High alumni. He assured us that T.B. Penick & Son’s is providing the project with the highest quality construction team available, and is excited to get started.
Finally, we heard from Ralph West who is the District’s College, Career and Technical Education Program Manager for Curriculum and Instruction. Mr. West had some nice words to speak of the District’s Career and Technical Education program. He also shared his excitement in the addition of the Patrick Henry Arts, Media and Education (PHAME) to the Districts facilities.
San Diego Unified also received an award from National Association of Music Merchants.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for… the groundbreaking!
We were then treated to some refreshments, and a delicious cake sporting the rendering of the new Theater. Thank you to all that attended and especially those who contributed to the project to bring it to this milestone.
Well, I have some submittals to review now. However, PJHM will be bringing updates periodically throughout the project. See you all again for the dedication ceremony!
***Chris Garcia is an Architect and San Diego resident who is one of PJHM’s project managers on the Patrick Henry High School Modernization for the San Diego Unified School District.