Douglas Anderson expansion to open in August

Douglas Anderson expansion to open in August
Construction is almost finished on the new wing at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. It includes a new covered drop-off and pick-up area for students.

Jacksonville philanthropist enables school to host live opera broadcasts

 

History class will no longer be held in the gym at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts due to the completion of a $13 million 60,000-square-foot addition to the school in time for the first day of school in August. The new wing includes 20 new academic classrooms, a new cafeteria and a new metals shop.

A ribbon cutting for the new facility will be held Thursday, Sept. 10. It will include a VIP reception for special guests.

In addition to the new construction, Jacksonville philanthropist Lawrence (Laurie) DuBow of Epping Forest, has been a catalyst to the retrofitting of the Douglas Anderson Theater to enable the school to broadcast five live operas throughout the year from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

“This is major for Jacksonville,” said Douglas Anderson Principal Jacqueline Cornelius, who noted that live opera from the MET is only available in two other United States cities – Dallas and New York.

The live opera broadcasts will be held on Saturdays at the school and will enable 3,000 Jacksonville students and teachers from throughout the district to have an exposure to the art form during the year, said Cornelius.

The $13 million expansion to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is nearly ready to open. The new wing will be fitted with cutting-edge technology and includes 20 new classrooms and a new cafeteria

The $13 million expansion to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts is nearly ready to open. The new wing will be fitted with cutting-edge technology and includes 20 new classrooms and a new cafeteria

The new expansion will allow DA’s portable classrooms to be put out to pasture. It includes 20 new academic classrooms, a new cafeteria and new metals shop, Cornelius said. The school gutted the old cafeteria and renovated it to include two new dance studios for musical theatre. Two old science rooms have been transformed into three new creative writing classrooms and another science classroom will be converted into a costume lighting technical theatre shop. A welding and casting sculpture studio, and a new amphitheater for outdoor performances are included in the new construction as well as a covered pick-up and drop-off area and an extension to the Haskell Sculpture Garden.

A new 20,000-square-foot cafeteria will allow the entire student body to eat at once and will be more efficient. The old cafeteria only allowed 280 students to eat at a time requiring the school to split the lunch service into four periods between 11:35 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“Last year was a horrible year in that we had six history classes in the gym with partitions,” said Cornelius. “This year will be the first time ever we have a brand-new building with up-to-date technology.”

Technicians are also hard at work to ensure the 640-seat theater will be ready for the first live broadcast from the MET October 3. “My staff is doing well to ensure there will be no glitches,” Cornelius said.

The new wing is the first major improvement to the school since 2001 when a black-box theater, vocal building and recital hall were added.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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