Arts & Entertainment

Cal State Northridge's Valley Performing Arts Center opens soon

Valley Performing Arts Center facility design image
Valley Performing Arts Center facility design image
Valley Performing Arts Center

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It’s almost showtime at the Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge. The inaugural season begins in January - but the first performance is scheduled for Friday night. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario toured the long-awaited theater Wednesday afternoon.

Our tour happens to start with the campus bells that ring every half hour. Gailya Brown points out the native trees near the glass-door entrance.

"And succulents. So, this is a very energy efficient building."

The three-building complex is LEED Silver certified – one of the top ratings for "green" design.

Construction crews and sound engineers are still at work inside the 1,700-seat concert hall. The indoor and outdoor space includes academic stages and wifi-ready lecture halls with more than 200 seats.

Brown says there’s also studio space for KCSN – the university’s public radio station. "They’re in a dorm. They haven’t ever had a permanent home before."

The $125 million project funded with public and private dollars wasn’t an easy sell for some homeowners in the neighborhood. A big concern: more traffic congestion.

"This campus has 6,000 cars driving to it everyday," says Bob Bueker. Bueker is the executive director of the Valley Performing Arts Center. He says sold-out shows will probably mean about 850 more cars on the campus and surrounding streets.

"How it changes traffic flow, how it changes the activity on the streets, the arteries that lead to the campus – we’re not gonna see much change there." Bueker says his staff also plans to avoid booking performances during class hours to minimize disturbances.

The venue will host dance and stage performances, music concerts and film screenings. Friday night’s show is an invitation-only event for those involved in the project.

Cal State Northridge will announce the inaugural spring lineup for the Valley Performing Arts Center in a couple of weeks. The first show is scheduled for late January.