Regis Jesuit High School Performing Arts Center

Regis Jesuit High School Building New Performing Arts Center

April 4, 2013

From The Denver Post, By Joey Kirchmer

Construction on a $13.2 million performing arts center is set to kick off this week at a private Catholic school in Aurora.

The new two-story, 40,000-square-foot facility at Regis Jesuit High School will house a 490-seat amphitheater, instrumental and choral classrooms, a counseling center, student journalism center and a school spirit shop, among other things. Construction is set to begin April 4 and finish up in January 2014, said Charisse Broderick King, communications director for Regis Jesuit.

It marks the first new building to be added to the campus since completion of the Boys Division building in 2004, she said.

“This has been a true labor of love and a long time coming,” said Mike Reidy, a Regis Jesuit alumnus who graduated in 1972. “One of the startling missing links on this campus is a performing arts center and a student commons. This is a great opportunity to present world-class space for the tremendous talent at this institution.”

Dozens of alumni, donors and city officials scooped up a little ceremonial dirt last week for a groundbreaking held at the school campus, located off East Arapahoe and South Parker roads. The project, part of a larger $20 million capital improvement campaign, has been in the planning stages for more than a decade, Reidy said.

Regis Jesuit High School, which moved from Denver to Aurora in 1990, has outgrown its current performing arts theater, a cramped 50-foot by 50-foot space known as the “blackbox.” The theater’s limited capacity — it seats only 155 people — has forced the school to turn away spectators in the past due to overcrowding.

“It’s been somewhat of a task trying to create a set that will fit on a small stage,” said Dolores Boyle, theater arts director at Regis Jesuit. “Some of the equipment in the blackbox is so old that I can’t find parts for them anymore. So we’re very appreciate to have a home base for the first time.”

For the past three years, the school has been renting out space at Colorado Heights University in Denver to host its fall musical productions, including this year’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” The performance averaged between 600 and 700 audience members each night, Boyle said.

“Colorado Heights University has a 1,000-seat theater, so we were able to accommodate everyone,” Boyle said. “We’ve really picked up some steam to build more audiences.”

Boyle said she’s looking forward to providing students with a performing arts center that will provide a more professional setting.

“It’s so exciting to finally see this come to fruition,” she said. “The students can actually train on something they will see in college.”

Norris Design has been working with Larson Incitti Architects on this project.