LAUSD Officials Cut the Ribbon on Garfield High's Auditorium Project

LOS ANGELES (April 5, 2014) - Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Mónica García today joined elected officials, students, staff, parents, guardians, the community and special guests to cut the ribbon on the long-awaited replacement of the main building, the new auditorium and the new Jaime Escalante Memorial Plaza at Garfield Senior High School. 
 
“Today we celebrate with the community a new era for Garfield High School, the home of a new world class state-of-the-art theatre for the students and families to enjoy,” Board Member Garcia said. “Our community has waited a long time for the opening of this new auditorium, and we are thankful to all of those whose contributions and support led us to this momentous occasion.  We can’t wait to see Garfield High School reach 100% graduation. Go Bulldogs!”

On May 20, 2007, an unfortunate fire destroyed the auditorium at Garfield Senior High School.  Since then, LAUSD has completed a massive project to provide a new, safe auditorium with improved features for the students and community of Garfield Senior High School.  Initially the District pursued a plan to fully renovate the auditorium alone.  However, studies revealed that the main building also sustained major fire damage.  In order to meet all state laws and ensure maximum safety of students and staff, a new and improved Administration/Classroom/Auditorium facility was built.  The project also includes a vast memorial plaza named after the late, legendary Garfield teacher Jaime Escalante. 

“Today is truly a celebration,” Superintendent John Deasy said. “You can feel the uplifting energy in the neighborhood as the result of this major building project.  This is the new, state-of-the art auditorium everyone has been waiting for!  It means a great deal, not only to the community and our LAUSD family, but also to the students who attend, will graduate and have graduated from this exceptional school.”

“East Los Angeles has its own unique identity and generations of residents have attended Garfield High School,” said County Supervisor Gloria Molina.  “The auditorium was full of many fond memories – and now with the new auditorium many more will be made.”
 
“The Garfield community is ecstatic over the ribbon cutting event of our new auditorium,” Garfield’s Principal Jose Huerta said. “Our students will finally be able to showcase their talents in music, drama, and video production in a state-of-the-art venue.  The arts will come alive once again at Garfield Senior High School!”

Roberto A. Martinez, Instructional Area Superintendent added: "It is an honor to celebrate with the Garfield and East Los Angeles community this momentous occasion as we open the doors of the Jaime Escalante Auditorium which will be a center of learning for thousands of students and where the arts will flourish for years to come."

The centerpiece of the project is the new auditorium. The auditorium includes a state-of-the-art audio-visual system, broadcast production studio and finishes that mirror the original historic structure. There is an extensive use of glass and metal panels as well as a glass wall at the front of the auditorium with images of each type of performing arts genre.  
 
The Jaime Escalante Memorial Plaza is 4,000 square-feet in size, and includes memorial pavers, benches, special lighting and a mosaic tile mural. 

Another new building consists of eight general classrooms and six specialty classrooms. In addition, two existing buildings received new elevators and stairs. 
 
“LAUSD appreciates the patience and participation of the Garfield Senior High School administration, staff, students, alumni, and neighbors as we completed the construction of this exciting new project,” LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter said. “This new state-of-the-art facility will proudly and safely serve students, faculty and the entire community for years to come.” 
 
“On behalf of the Lizárraga Family and TELACU, I would like to commend the Los Angeles Unified School District, Board Member Mónica García, and all of the faculty and parents for their tenacity and dedication to provide this beautiful state-of-the-art community asset for Garfield students,” said Dr. David C. Lizárraga, president and CEO, TELACU Millennium, a community development corporation.

“These deserving students now have a more effective learning environment that will support their academic development, preparing them to successfully compete for scholarships and placement at top colleges and universities. The new Garfield stands as a symbol of our commitment to the empowerment of our community’s most valuable asset—our youth!”

Maria Brenes, executive director, InnerCity Struggle, said: “InnerCity Struggle celebrates the opening of the new Auditorium for Garfield High School – it is a symbol of hope and progress for the East Los Angeles community to ensure every young person is prepared for success,” she said. “We will continue to support the school to excel moving forward.”
 
The Garfield Senior High School project is part of L.A. Unified’s $19.5 billion New School Construction and Modernization Program. This gives every student an opportunity to attend a safe and healthy neighborhood school operating on a traditional, two-semester calendar. For more information, please visit www.laschools.org

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Contact: Ellen Morgan (213) 241-6766