Letter to the Editor: Renting School Theaters Not Feasible

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(Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to Newport resident Thomas Andrews’ letter to City Council suggesting the city rent the theaters at Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools, rather than build a new lecture hall by the library and civic center)


Your resident’s comments are appreciated and I know he believes this could benefit our district, but assumption that we need support or can accommodate outside use in our theaters is misguided.

First, we fully fund all theater operations to support our schools. While schools, in particular high schools, are responsible for the licensing fees, wardrobe and set design costs, we manage all of the stage operations, lights, sound, house prep and clean-up, etc.

Second, our theaters always booked. We do not allow outside use for two reasons, schools in each zone also use the high school theaters and the schedule is so tight that we cannot find time for all elementary schools in a year.

In the summer, our theaters are down for several weeks for safety inspections and equipment repairs, maintenance and upgrades.

We are barely able to squeeze in our own children’s theater summer program and our summer music camp performances with our busy operations schedule.

I appreciate Mr. Andrews’ suggestion, but in reality, it is not a pragmatic suggestion.

Fred Navarro
Superintendent, Newport Mesa Unified School District

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