Thursday, September 1, 2011

Community High School: An Astonishing Transformation

The new Community High School.
Front view of the complex.
180-seat June T. McBroom Theatre.
Classroom with plenty of electronics.
Wet laboratory (there's also a dry lab).
School entrance.
View from the railroad track.
Just got a tour of the new Community High School on the corner of Campbell Avenue and Williamson Road in downtown Roanoke and I'm floored with what was done with that ugly building. It'll open for class this month and is cluttered at the moment, but it is a beehive of activity.

Much of the wood inside--big wood--was re-used as flooring, stair-steps, paneling and the like and it is striking.The flooring was preserved, but could be hazardous to anybody with heels because of the holes in the wood, but it is quite gorgeous.

The space for the school is 15,000 square feet, more than doubling the 6,000 CHS previously occupied in the old Southwest Virginia Savings Bank Building (which FRONT had offices in, as well, until recently when the building went up for sale). Upstairs in the high school building are 15 apartments ranging in size from efficiency to three bedrooms and in price from about $600 to $1,200 a month.

The high school features a 180-seat auditorium, which No Shame Theater will use until Mill Mountain Theatre re-opens. In fact, No Shame has its inaugural show Friday night. GAMUT, the marvelous little theater group that has been floating from theater to theater recently, will call the June T. McBroom Theatre home.

The front entrance of the main building is a gallery, which will open tomorrow night with its first showing.

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