The outside of the old movie theater. The property is now being used to teach Health classes.
The outside of the old movie theater. The property is now being used to teach Health classes.
Seamus McCarthy

Former Valley Theater now two classrooms, multipurpose space

This year, Jesuit sophomores are learning in a new space. The former Valley Theater has been converted into a joint classroom and sports area.

The old theater originally opened in 1960 and closed after being acquired by Regal Cinemas. It was closed and reopened again twice more, before closing for good in 2018.

After a failed attempt to turn the theater into a Virtual Reality entertainment center by a VR entertainment company, Jesuit decided to turn it into a “Clubhouse” in early 2022.

The 14,000 square ft. space is now being used to teach health classes.

Remodeled, the theater now looks akin to Arrupe hall, with carpeted flooring and light wood doors, though some barebones concrete flooring remains and the classrooms don’t have windows.

Mr. Skipper, a Health teacher and the varsity men’s head soccer coach, said that while the lack of windows takes some getting used to, the space is unbelievable.

“Group work is going to be a lot easier, you know [with] space to meet in small groups,” Skipper said.

Students have difficulties getting to class on time, but so far no one has taken advantage of the distance from the main building Skipper said.

“One or two minutes late is going to be expected. We let them out a little bit early so they can get to their classes on time, but I blocked it [out]. You can’t make it in five minutes,” Skipper said.

Sumeru Gowda, a sophomore who takes health classes in the new space, also said that getting to class on time is difficult.

“Being late is definitely a huge problem, even if I run and get on time, there’s still nobody there. So most of the teachers had to cut their classes by five minutes,” Gowda said.

The rooms themselves have been flattened out, with the only steps in them being the ones that lead up to the old projector rooms, which have been converted into offices for the teachers.

“[They have] the cords and things to help teachers. They have the refrigerator and the coffee machine and that sort of thing. So it’s a good deal,” Mr. Skipper said.

The classrooms can also be converted into areas for sports, such as batting cages for the baseball team. While noise levels from sports may be a concern for some, Skipper hasn’t been impacted.

“The baseball team won’t be in there during class time[…]the first time a rec sports class goes in there and plays futsal or something like that we’ll see how loud it is in the classroom, but we haven’t tested that yet,” Mr. Skipper said.

In fact, it’s hard to hear the neighboring classroom, Mr. Skipper said.

“I can’t hear the other class at all. So that’s soundproof there,” Mr. Skipper said.

Gowda said that he couldn’t hear any noise spillover either, and that he is really enjoying the new classrooms.

“The rooms are really nice, there’s lots of space to do things, and they feel really new,” Gowda said.

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