Alten Construction begins Berkeley High School renovations

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* Berkeley - California - US

BERKELEY, Calif. - July 8, 2020 - PRLog -- Alten Construction, a full-service San Francisco Bay Area commercial construction company, recently began the upgrades to Berkeley High School and its historical Berkeley Community Theatre.

The team will renovate a portion of the 107,000-square-foot building that houses the 3,500-seat Berkeley Community Theatre with an audience chamber and stage, the 575-seat Florence Schwimley Little Theatre and a classroom wing. The upgrades include altering the classroom wing and the Berkeley Community Theatre's main stage, constructing a new student lobby space and seismically strengthening all existing walls and the roof.

On the main stage, Alten Construction will install a new rigging system and add a backstage crossover for flow between the classroom wing and the Florence Schwimley Little Theatre.

Five existing offset floor levels and the roof in the classroom wing will be demolished, and three aligned floor levels will be constructed. The classroom wing will house music classrooms, a drama classroom and a scene shop, as well as supporting practice and storage rooms.

A new ground-level 860-square-foot lobby will provide a prominent entrance to the classroom wing and will also add gathering space within the building. In addition, an upper-level 1,185-square-foot space will contain an elevator that serves the classroom wing and act as an exit stair to support the existing exiting system from the main auditorium balcony.

"With this renovation, our goal is to provide a more hands-on learning environment for the visual and performing arts and improve the opportunities for students to experience or prepare for a career in the field," said John Calise, executive director of the facilities division for the Berkeley Unified School District. "We aim to create access that ties the Berkeley Community Theatre into the rest of the campus and breathe new life into a building that has hosted so many music legends over the past 70 years."

Alten Construction will also supervise the site and utility work to update the electrical service to the building and provide a fire pump for the fire sprinkler system. Grading will be performed by the outdoor terrace north of the classroom wing to lower and align with the main level of the classroom wing and stage.

Alten Construction is working with CAW Architects on the $45 million project, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.

Dedicated in June 1950, Berkeley High School's Berkeley Community Theatre and Florence Schwimley Little Theatre still boasts many original details and features. The World War II-era building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to the Berkeley High School Historic District and Berkeley Civic Center Historic District. The theater also houses the second largest Wurlitzer pipe organ in the U.S.

Alicia King Robinson
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Location:Berkeley - California - United States
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