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Corona del Mar Today

June 19, 2010|By Amy Senk
(CdM Today )

Controversy Brewing Over New CDMHS Theater; Community Meeting Planned For Thursday Postponed

Corona del Mar High School soon could get a new theater — but will the $13 million proposed theater-in-the-round stage be too small for plays and dance performances?

"Our drama department and our dance department will not be able to use the Thrust Theatre," parents complained in an e-mail that is making the rounds of Corona del Mar High School families. "It is a round stage with no capacity to accommodate the dancers or the props for drama productions."

One parent said, "This theater would be a complete waste of money."

Another said, "I think it is very irresponsible to spend our taxpayer money on a theatre that will stand 'dark' and unused."

A meeting had been scheduled for Thursday evening but too many people had conflicts, so the meeting instead will be planned after school is out for the year, Jim Lamond, the director of facilities development for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, said in an e-mail.

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"I do greatly appreciate all of your thoughts, ideas and input as they relate to the theater design," he wrote. "Hopefully we can find a time when we can all gather together again as a group and help move this project forward."

The proposed new theater would be built using about $10 to $13 million of funds from Measure F, a 2005 bond measure that already paid for the Newport Harbor Loats Theater. That theater, which Corona del Mar High School used for its performances this spring of "The Wiz," is a Proscenium theater. But the plan for Corona del Mar High School is to build a Thrust theater, a theater-in-the-round-type stage geared toward small musical ensembles.

Estancia is slated to receive the second Proscenium theater, although one Corona del Mar High School parent said that school "does not have established drama, dance or music programs."

"I find it interesting that they will give them the Proscenium theatre when they are not even ready to use it," she said in an email.

Thrust theaters are slated for Costa Mesa High School as well as Corona del Mar High.

Besides a new theater, Measure F funds also are being used for a Corona del Mar Middle School enclave project.

An e-mail to CdMHS drama teacher Ronald Martin seeking comment was not immediately answered.

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