Groundbreaking Ceremony: Leading the Way for Innovation and Creativity
by Jessica Lvov (279) & Grace Jickling (279), Editors-in-Chief
October 17, 2019
On June 4, 2019, Central High school faculty, alumni, and state officials gathered to celebrate the beginning of innovation and creativity at the Groundbreaking Ceremony. Construction for the new Performing Arts Center, a $52.7 million project, was begun three weeks before the event, however, this calm day in June was the official start to Central’s transformation. The ceremony was attended by many influential figures: Student Representative Gladys Ramos (280), Joseph M. Field (192) and Richard Prinz (212), President McKenna, Superintendent Dr. Hite, Mayor Jim Kenney, and the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf. However, the one thing that did not vary from person to person was the enthusiasm towards the event. Every individual saw the ceremony not only as the beginning of construction but as Superintendent Hite stated, the beginning of “a better future for the next Central class and for the students across the city.”
The plans for “the learning, training, and performing Arts Center” were unveiled on November 29, 2017 after $10 million was generously donated by “our lead benefactor” Joe Field, with another $8.1 million donated by the School District of Philadelphia. The Center will hold classrooms for not only the arts but for the STEM field as well. The new building will incorporate spaces for academic planning, provide 21st-century learning opportunities with a student commons and digital media and technology center, as well as advancing the performing arts with a 400-seat auditorium to hold rehearsals, performances, classes, and events. Mayor Kenney stated that it will be a place where “Students getting ready for college careers in the 21st century will thrive.”
The first phase of the project, already underway as the 2019-2020 school year starts, aims to “pave the way for the future” by making transportation to and from Central more accessible and much safer by the Fall of 2020. The new, handicapped-accessible parking lot will be lowered to manage rainwater and the entrance moved farther away from the crowded intersection of Ogontz and Olney Avenues. The plan includes the construction of a drop-off loop for students to minimize congestion.
Central has a legacy of innovation, a reputation of intelligence and dedication. In order to reach our full potential, we, as students, are being provided this new space for performance and entrepreneurship. This is not just a new building, it is a place to be inspired; it will lead the way to innovation and creativity.
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