By Kelly Ryan

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As a new school year begins, McClatchy High School is promising students a fresh start with a brand-new arts program and state-of-the-art equipment and classrooms.

The school is making a big investment in the arts, believing it should be part of the classroom experience. The move comes at a time when high schools across the country are slashing arts programs and funding.

Now, after years of construction, McClatchy is showcasing its visual and performing arts academy.

"We want to be the art center for the Sacramento region," Principal Peter Lambert of the $23 million renovation. "Hopefully it will allow our students to be leaders in the entire Sacramento region as far as arts, music, theater, and drama.”

CK McClatchy High School is one of the oldest high schools in Sacramento, built in 1937. But, looking at the new rooms and equipment, it's pure 21st century now.

Teachers worked directly with engineers and designers planning spaces: A new photography lab, a 3-D art and sculpture lab, a ceramic studio, and the black box theatre, used for smaller performances.

Graphic arts Teacher Jonathan Hubbard believes the arts classes aren't just for students planning a professional arts career.

“If you look at what corporations in this economy are asking for, they're asking for innovators and asking for creative solution
makers," he said.

The CK McClatchy theater is what Lambert calls the crown jewel of the project. Sound will be pumped into the auditorium with the orchestra, not in a pit, but watching performers on a big screen behind the stage.

Many students who got an early look at the renovations during an orientation say heading back to school in these new spaces might not be so bad.

"I was so shocked; they all looked gorgeous, and it adds a whole new artistic element to our entire school,” said Sophomore Chloe Cook.

The theater won't be completed until December, and Lambert says it already has community groups lining up to rent the space.

The money for the renovations came from Measure Q, which county residents passed in 2012.


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