Ribbon Cutting Launches Grand Opening of Cerritos College's New Performing Arts Center

July 14, 2022
A large crowd assembled today to celebrate the grand opening of Cerritos College’s new Performing Arts Center. Among those delivering addresses were the College President, Dr. Jose Fierro; Gary Pritchard, Dean, Fine Arts/Communications; and Cody Birkey, Board President of who cut the officially opened the facility with the cutting of the ribbon. Also in attendance was faculty and the Pfeiffer design team. Constructed on the site of the demolished 1960s fine arts building, the facility is comprised of a 400-seat theater, 150-seat black-box theater, 100-seat recital hall, band and choir rehearsal spaces, all designed at a professional-level to give students real-world performance and production experience. Along with a multilevel lobby, there is an acting lab, technology lab, make-up lab, scene shop, costume shop, computer lab, practice rooms, and performer support. In conjunction with a new fine arts building, the new Center creates a vibrant arts zone on campus, including an outdoor courtyard and stage, in an outdoor environment capable of supporting large concerts, film projection, and other events. A new campus space is created between the new PAC and the existing Fine Arts building, creating a synergy among the arts on campus. Finally, an iconic exterior mirrored ceiling creates an interactive space under the “bridge” element of the building, creating an Instagram able moment. The inspiration for the theater’s interior design was the geode; crystalline shaped architectural panels create facets of a geode in shades of copper and bronze, heightening the sense of the theatrical and creating an intimate theater going experience. Flanking the theater wings are L-shaped bars to the west and east, which house the music and theater programs, respectively. The strategically bent forms serve to define the distinct landscape spaces that will enhance student experience and the functionality for the entire campus. Building circulation is intuitive, with daylit north-south passages between the three building masses. The forecourt landscape and the entrance wall of the Auditorium form a continuous surface that conceptually merges the inside and out, while the transparent curtainwall maximizes visual connectivity. With three entrances, the facility welcomes the campus and the public, enhancing the college’s mission to support and enrich the arts on campus and in the city of Norwalk. David Betancourt, Director of Bands, “As a faculty member to be able to give this experience to students, with the acoustical considerations, the state-of-the-art technology, combining all of that in an instructional space is absolutely amazing. The benefits of this new facility are numerous for the students. They are in a top-level acoustical space where they rehearse, they perform. But it doesn’t just benefit the students, it also benefits our community.”