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East County politicians, bagpipe players, singers and dancers converged at Helix Charter High School Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the school's new $15.2 million Performing Arts Center.
The 34,000 square foot facility was paid for with Proposition U funds. A similar size Humanities building was opened at Grossmont High School late last year.
Training for students to use the new facilities will take some time but La Mesans can expect a season of dance, choir, band and orchestra concerts by the start of the 2014-15 school year, said Assistant Music Director Michael Benge.
"We want to put quality out. Helix Performing Arts is known for its quality and we want to continue that," Benge said.
Plans are Helix band students will work with San Diego State University and may hold joint concerts in the future, he said.
"This gives kids the opportunity to work with college professors," he said. "This is going to allow us to really reach out to the community."
La Mesa Arts Academy is scheduled to open this fall at nearby La Mesa Middle School.