by Tucker Foehl, Head of School
As we celebrate our return to campus and resume the sounds and rhythms of our day-to-day life at school, I write today to share an exciting update. We are in the final planning and fundraising phase of a transformational community and performing arts center. This new space will represent the final major part of our campus build-out, and it will provide such a tremendous resource for our students, our wonderful arts program, and the broader community that will have so many more opportunities to experience SA. We envision the future of our school as one that more deeply engages with the surrounding community and one that promotes the arts and inventive programming as a means to further connect us as a school and to the surrounding region.
Throughout our history, we have envisioned a performing arts center as a central hub for artistic performances, symposia, lectures, community meeting, storytelling, film series, and a place to gather in creativity. This space will allow us to partner with other Sonoma County organizations to create socially engaged performances exploring the intersection of culture, identity, and diversity. It will help us with a forum to frame questions affecting our communities as we also weave them through the Sonoma Academy experience: food and farming, curiosity and design-thinking, storytelling and the neurobiology of teens, equity and social justice. As with all of our curriculum and programs, these forums will be interdisciplinary in scope and global in perspective.
We envision a space to honor the importance of Community Meeting, a cherished Sonoma Academy tradition and weekly experience.
We envision a space capable of hosting larger and more cutting-edge theater productions.
We envision a space where students can explore ambitious stagecraft, where fine and performing arts meet, and where the interdisciplinary nature of our program is on display.
We envision the Performing Arts Center as an incubator for viewing, making, critiquing, discussing, and being inspired by cinema and the art of filmmaking.
We envision a home for a more robust and dynamic dance program.
We envision a home for expanded instrumental and amplified choral performances.
We envision a center for the art of storytelling and the narrative of connection throughout Sonoma County and beyond.
The need for this creative space is vital to our next steps forward at SA. Not only do we have a high level of participation in artistic programming at SA, with over 75% of our students participating in a performing arts production during their time at SA, we are excited about new opportunities that will emerge from this incredible building. We are equally focused on broadening our sense of community as so many of us --- most importantly, our students --- have called us to higher levels of civic engagement, and we recognize an increased need to understand the complexity of issues and the need to find common ground. This space will allow, and even encourage, us to connect in new and exciting ways, and it will be the central gathering place for so many moments and highlights of our students' time at SA.
We are working with the city of Santa Rosa and the planning commission as we finalize the dates of when construction will commence. We could break ground as early as August, and we will plan for a proper groundbreaking celebration when we return from summer vacation. The construction of the theater will take roughly 20-24 months to complete, and we are hopeful that the space will be ready for the 2023-24 school year. We will do everything possible to minimize the impact of construction on our normal daily school life, and we will be in much more regular communication with updates about the project moving forward.
For more information you can visit our webpage
, which will also include future updates and renderings, and you can watch a video that shows 3D renderings of the building here
. We will continue to share more information as we get closer to putting our first shovel in the ground. If you have any questions about the project please feel free to reach out to me or to Kim Eber, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Stay tuned for regular updates about this exciting project and inspiring campus enhancement.