The Oxbridge Academy celebrated the dedication of brand-new stadium seating for its theater with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The private school was able to upgrade the formerly ground-level layout with tiered seating that allow for all guests to clearly see the stage, thanks to the generosity of Wellington business leaders Ben and Joanna Boynton.
“We’ve been saying since the beginning of the project that this way, everyone gets the best seat in the house,” Head of School Dr. Ralph Maurer said. “What was exceptional about the collaboration was how [the Boyntons] sat down not just with people who work in fundraising, but also our facilities people. This is such an amazing example of problem solving between parents, the community and the school.”
From inception to opening, the project took about seven months. School staff and the Boynton family did extensive research, including visiting other sites around the county, to find the best way to improve sight lines for all guests seated in the theater.
The actual construction took place in a mere two days.
“We are very excited to do this. We wanted to help the school in a way it would impact a lot of people,” Ben Boynton said. “Almost every student in this school will probably pass through this theater. Almost every parent will sit in this theater at one point in time. This is long term, and we encourage other people who really want to move the school forward.”
Both Boynton children, William and Catherine, have participated heavily in the theater program at Oxbridge. Catherine was set to perform that very evening.
“Now, we can sit anywhere, and we don’t have to be here an hour early for every show,” he said.
The theater is more than just a place for performances though. In addition to the rock, jazz and musical theater, the school also brings in professional speakers to enhance student learning. The new seating allows for the school to have an ideal venue for learning.
“We use the facility just as much during the day as we do for performances,” Maurer said. “This is such an amazing example of the ingenuity and generosity of Ben and Joanna. They really set the mark, and also increased the quality of the performing arts program.”
With the enhancement to the theater impacting curriculum as much as the performing arts, both students and parents will benefit from the project.
“We all agreed this would be a really important project for the school. So, they very generously funded this addition to Oxbridge. This will indeed change the dynamics of our theater program, our music program, and it’s going to have an enormous and long-lasting impact on the students,” Oxbridge Academy Board Chair David Rosow said during the ceremony.
Guests enjoyed refreshments prior to the ceremony, and many stayed afterward to witness the first concert with the new stadium seating.
The Oxbridge Academy is located at 3151 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach. For more info., visit www.oapb.org.