At Laney College, Our Theater Renovation is Drawing Some Attention

by: French Clements | December 14, 2020

It was great to see this article in the Peralta Citizen, in which theater arts department chair Michael Torres explores our modernization of the Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center.

Here and below, renderings by ELS of the new Odell Johnson Performing Arts Center at Laney College, in Oakland, CA.

Michael participated in the concept design studies we did for the renovation several years ago. The project is now well underway, and he’s been one of our most enthusiastic collaborators. It’s been a pleasure working with him and all the great faculty, college staff, and district stakeholders involved.

We’re excited about the vision we’ve created together, which includes major improvements to accessibility and circulation; expanded restroom capacity (realizing the district’s desire for gender-neutral facilities); aesthetic and technical enhancements to the auditorium and stage; much-needed upgrades to the classrooms, media and video labs; and a new, intimate, flexible studio space suitable for teaching theater, video, and audio as well as hosting small performances.

A marquee may not be within the budget, but we’re confident that the glass and metal panel extension of the existing lobby (possibly including an art wall for student exhibitions), and the new secondary lobby activating the campus plaza on Fallon Street, will celebrate the students and bring the theater the recognition it deserves.