by Photo courtesy of Southwestern College

Southwestern College’s school of Arts, Communication & Social Science prepares to say farewell to the Mayan Hall Theatre after 52 years of dance, music and theatre productions.

A commemorative ceremony will take place at Mayan Hall Plaza on Nov.30 from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m where retired theatre professor William Virchis will be a guest speaker. Theatre students unknowingly performed their last rehearsal on the evening of March 16, 2020 at Mayan Hall Theatre which stood since 1969. 

The college opened it’s Fall 2021 semester with a $66 million Proposition R and Proposition Z funded Performing Arts and Cultural Center (PACC) spanning 48,000-square feet.The newly erected PACC houses 51 performing arts courses, 70 percent of which are taught in person. 

Voters passed Prop. R in 2008, with $389 million in general obligation bonds aimed to construct or rehabilitate SWC facilities. In November 2016, South Bay voters approved the $400 million general obligation bond Prop. Z for the college to make infrastructure renovations.

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college cancelled the Spring 2020 Arts Season, but moved onto virtual platforms to deliver performances. In October 2021, the college saw it's first in-person theatrical performances “Fire In Me '' and “Hand Under Hand ”, by Thelma Virata de Castro which reflect Filipinx American communities.

The original Southwestern College campus was designed in 1961 by architect George Foster who utilized the iconic Mayan style that represented the majority Latino student body. The new PACC was designed by Tucker Sadler Architects and built by Rudolph and Sletten who completed the facility in the summer of 2020. 

The PACC features a 540 seat auditorium and 151 seat black box to support classrooms and modern dance studios.The facility sits next to the Aquatic Complex on the corner of Otay Lakes Road on East H Street. 

According to the SWC 2025 Facilities Master Plan, Mayan Hall has never been renovated and has insufficient seating to fit the college’s needs. The PACC and newly renovated facilities “will present an inviting and distinctive campus perspective to the surrounding community as well as serve the students enrolled in these programs with modern facilities,” according to Southwestern College. 


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