Granite Hills High School Building – 160 Modernization & Addition

Ruhnau Clarke Architects converted an auto shop into a black box theater at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, overcoming challenges with flood plain restrictions, and creating program spaces and a modern design.

This project presented the challenge of converting an existing auto shop building into a black box theater with the necessary support spaces to meet program needs at Granite Hills High School. The site also sits on a FEMA registered flood plain so any new construction would require additional work to meet DSA guidelines.

With these problems in mind, the design team renovated the existing classroom which created spaces for programs that include choral music, instrumental music, and drama, with additional auxiliary spaces like green rooms and storage. A scenery shop was integrated within the scope to aid the programs to take place in the new structure, a simple black box theater building. This classroom includes seating for 172 to support the growing program, along with state of the art control and tech rooms, and equipment storage. Oriented slightly off plane from the existing building and raised 12” above the flood plain, the theater creates a simple yet dramatic statement for the campus and theater program.

Design: Ruhnau Clarke Architects
Contractor: Erickson-Hall Construction
Photography: RMA Photography