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State-of-the-art space has 532 seats and an orchestra pit with school choirs as the first concert

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - Workers are putting the finishing touches on Gresham High Schools new, 532-seat theater at the corner of Main Avenue and Division Street. The new 532-seat theater at Gresham High School is almost ready for its close up.

"It will be a venue that the community of Gresham will be proud of," said Janine Kirstein, choral director of Gresham High School.

"The choir is super excited to perform in the auditorium. It's been a long wait, but its worth it," she said.

The first performance tentatively scheduled for the snazzy new auditorium is the spring choral concert from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 1. It's free and open to the public and features all the Gopher choirs and soloists who have distinguished themselves at state competitions.

Jason Bhear, assistant principal at Gresham High said the new space has multiple improvements over the old auditorium.

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - The modern performance space has up-to-date features and technology.

"One of the main differences is that we can 'fly' scenery and equipment," he said.

That means sets and equipment can be pulled up into the rafters of the theater or lowered to the stage with rigging, which wasn't possible in the old auditorium.

The theater also has the latest technology to facilitate modern performances.

"All the electronics, lights and sound equipment are state of the art," he said.

In addition, the new theater has an orchestra pit, which can accommodate about 20-25 musicians.

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT - The Gresham High theater is part of a big rebuilding project in the district.

The acoustics "I think will be awesome," Kirstein said.

The theater entrance sits at the corner of Division Street and Main Avenue and creates a sweeping, dramatic facade at this key intersection.

The theater is part of a massive demolition and rebuild of Gresham High School. Students began attending class in the new part of the school adjacent to the theater in the fall. The north end of the school is still under construction.

The entire remodel and rebuilding of the high school won't be finished until the spring 2021.

The building program is being paid for by a $291.2 million bond Gresham-Barlow district voters approved in November 2016. Barlow High School was remodeled and expanded and the Barlow Bruins got a long wished-for athletic stadium.

North and East Gresham elementary schools were replaced and all district schools got safety and security upgrades.

Some elementary schools got additional classrooms and others also got new playgrounds as part of the bond building program.


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