AHS Performing Arts Center

(January 8, 2021)

AHS Performing Arts Center Will Be Beautiful and Functional

Alexander High School will soon have a state-of-the-art performing arts center, featuring seating for 600, an orchestra pit, a lobby large enough for intimate performances and gatherings, and gallery space to showcase student artwork.

“The new performing arts center will be beautiful as well as functional,” said Kirk Nicholson, Capital Improvements Coordinator for the Douglas County School System. “I believe that the new facility will be a showcase for the school system and an asset to the entire county.”

Other features of the new performing arts center include workshop space for building sets, storage so that sets can be saved and reused, dressing rooms, a green room, laundry room, concession stand and loading dock. AHS students interested in the technical side of theater – lighting and sound – will gain experience using the latest equipment.

Sandra ChandlerThe current AHS theater was built in 1986 and has had no renovations. It features a small stage and only 350 seats, which limits the number of tickets for performances. “We have to turn people away from our spring musical every year because we run out of seats,” said AHS Choral Director Sandra Chandler, pictured on the left. “There are some shows we would like to choose but can’t because they require more stage space than is available in our theater.”

In addition to musical and dramatic performances, the theater is also used for grade level meetings and academic presentations. Currently, an entire grade level cannot fit into the theater at the same time and must be split into two meetings. Elementary and middle schools that feed into AHS will also have the opportunity to hold performances in the new facility.

Chandler, along with band directors David White and Andy Daniel, gave input on the facility throughout the design process. Robert Connor, FAME director at New Manchester High School, which has the newest performing arts center in the county, offered advice as well. Local dance studio owner K.C. Emberson, who rents facilities for her annual recital, also gave input.

Southern A&E designed the building, and adjustments are still being made. The school system will break ground on the project in the spring of 2021, with a projected completion date in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. The $8 million project will be funded by ESPLOST, the one-cent sales tax that was approved for renewal in June 2020.

AHS boasts one of the largest choral and band programs in the county. Their popular spring musicals typically sell out their six shows and involve around 100 students, including actors and the technical crew. 
                                                                                                                                    Picture of students in Les Mis

Last year’s blockbuster spring musical at AHS was “Les Miserables.”     
This year AHS students will perform “Shrek: The Musical.”

Schematic for AHS PAC

The new performing arts center will be beautiful as well as functional.

AHS PAC rendering

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