Plan will add performance space at schools

The Newport-Mesa Board of Education approved preliminary site master plans for two of its campuses at its Tuesday meeting.

The plans for long-term facilities development at the Corona del Mar and Costa Mesa high school sites would pave the way for long-desired performing arts facilities, and separate enclaves for the middle schools that meet on the school sites.

Buildings have not yet been designed; the board only approved the projects’ locations and footprints. Each campus would see a net gain in building square footage, and classes from demolished areas would be relocated.

The district hopes to sell a bond in about one year to fund construction, but its timeline is dependent on whether property values increase or decrease, officials said. Each campus would create site committees to discuss implementation of the projects.

Presently, middle school students are more integrated across the two campuses; the suggested new footprints would establish a corner of each campus for them, with quad and classroom areas.

Deputy Supt. Paul Reed said the plans would come short of creating a “school within a school,” but still would give middle schoolers a greater sense of coherence and place.

The performing arts facilities would include 350-seat thrust-stage theaters at each campus, along with black box theaters, stage shops, lobbies, and new or renovated band and choral rooms.

The performing arts facility at Costa Mesa High would be set at the corner of Arlington Drive and Fairview Road.

Costa Mesa High’s new middle school enclave, to be near the theater, would feature a new administration and humanities building; technology lab; math and science facilities; lunch shelter and quad. The existing lyceum, shop buildings, portable art rooms and science labs would be removed. Existing classroom buildings would be renovated. There also would be an open space area for future expansion.

At Corona del Mar High, about 80 parking spaces will be added under the proposed plan. The 400 building would be demolished, with the two-story performing arts center going in the area across the quad from the administration building. A renovated physical education building also is planned.

The middle school enclave would be near the present administration building, with new lab buildings and a new administration building. Many classrooms would be refurbished, and a new student dining area was proposed.

In other news, the district also approved one-time funds to develop interventions for at-risk students at several school sites, and honored the five schools with the highest gains in standardized test scores.

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