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New Life for Two Old Auditoriums

Construction crews have breathed new life into auditoriums at two of the Long Beach Unified School District’s oldest campuses, Wilson and Poly high schools.

Wilson celebrated the grand opening of its refurbished 1929 auditorium this month with an evening of student performances including symphonic winds and strings, chamber singers, guitar ensemble, dance and musical theatre.  Poly officially reopened its 87-year-old auditorium last December with a holiday instrumental concert.  Both projects were made possible by school bond funds approved by local voters.

The modernized Wilson auditorium retains its historical character and now features two elevators, refurbished seating, upgraded restrooms, new wall and floor finishes, upgraded plumbing, air conditioning and heating systems, a digital control room and new lighting.  Seismic safety upgrades with roof strengthening and fire sprinkler systems also were part of the modernization.  Preserved historical aspects include reconditioned historical seating, lobby restoration and refurbished historical windows.  The project cost was $27 million.

The Poly auditorium renovation also included seismic retrofitting, new elevators, new public restrooms, stage lighting, audio, heating and air conditioning, fire alarms, sprinklers and stadium seating.  After the auditorium was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the  building was modernized in the WPA Moderne style, incorporating Streamline Moderne and Art Deco elements.

Designers of the refurbished Poly auditorium preserved or replicated many of the historical features, working with Long Beach Heritage.  The project cost was $24 million.

Learn more about school construction and modernization projects at

RESTORED – Wilson High School celebrated the opening of its refurbished 1929 auditorium this month. Poly High School reopened its 87-year-old auditorium last year.  Both buildings gained significant upgrades while retaining historical features such as the Wilson seating shown here.