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HB High auditorium renovation and addition embraces the old and new

July 08, 2009|By Laura Mickelson

The 1926 Auditorium features Lombard Romanesque Revival Architecture

Construction restoration work on the 83-year-old Huntington Beach High School (HBHS) Darrel Stillwagon auditorium and bell tower and a new performing arts classroom addition was recently completed. Located on Main Street and Yorktown Avenue in Huntington Beach, the auditorium was one of the first buildings constructed on the high school campus in 1926, and the school was the first permanent high school in the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD).

The $9.6 million HBHS performing arts project was funded through the $238 million HBUHSD Measure C modernization and expansion program encompassing school facility improvements at six high schools in the district. McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. of Newport Beach served as construction manager for the project which entailed construction of a new 9,200-square-foot performing arts classroom building and courtyard as well as extensive renovations of a 27,000 square-foot, 600-seat performing arts auditorium and bell tower. The project also included renovation of outdoor walkways and an outdoor amphitheater on the auditorium’s south side.

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The auditorium and bell tower are listed with the County of Orange as Historic Site #36. Designed in the Lombard Romanesque Revival Style, the facility’s original architect was Allison and Allison of Santa Ana. The HBUHSD, McCarthy and PJHM Architects collaborated closely with Roberto Pellechia, the project’s conceptual designer who conducted extensive research on the Lombard Romanesque Revival style. Pallechia worked with the project architects to maintain the historical integrity of the structure while incorporating a more decorative aspect to the interior and adding modern conveniences and infrastructure for functionality.

“The goal of this project was to modernize while respecting the building’s history, character and landmark prominence for both the school and the community,” said project manager Anson Rane of PJHM Architects in San Clemente. “The auditorium, with stately arched openings, a high vaulted ceiling and elaborate classically inspired detailing throughout, is truly one of a kind for a school facility.” 

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