As part of the second phase of the Barnum Hall and Greek Theater Facility Use Plan — and because of the success of the first phase of the project — three new positions have been created for the theaters and to handle facility permits throughout the district.

The positions — a technical theater coordinator, an administrative assistant and part-time custodian — were approved by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District school board at its meeting January 17th.

These positions will support Carey Upton, the director of theater operations and facility permits, and “better serve the district in generating revenue,” said district superintendent Dianne Talarico.

The positions will also help support Upton as the scope of work broadens to handle all facility permits district-wide, Talarico said.

Previously, permits had been handled in the Maintenance and Operations Office.

The intention of the Santa Monica-Malibu district is to eventually transition all of the facility use permit processing to Upton and the staff that will soon be hired under him, said deputy superintendent Tim Walker.

Permits are issued to groups or individuals that want to use some piece of property in the district, said Upton.

“We are the office you can come to with your request and we can help you through the process of making that happen,” said Upton, noting that he is currently a “one-man office, which is why I need people to help me.”

Upton said he is looking forward to the new “much-needed” staff that will come on board to assist him with theater operations and facility permits.

Walker agrees that this work, in combination with the current use of Barnum Hall and the Greek Theater on the Santa Monica High School campus, will require a staff of more than one person.

“I think that the decision is a very good one,” said Walker of the board approving the three new positions. “The potential for increasing opportunities for performances on the Westside is greatly enhanced with the creation of the director position and the staff recently approved by the board.”

With the anticipated increase in the use of both Barnum Hall and the Greek Theater and the intention to try to acquire yearly commitments from those that rent the venues, the cost of the staff and upkeep of the facilities is expected to be cost neutral to the district, Walker said.

In the first phase of the Facility Use Plan — adopted in August 2006 — a theater operations manager position was created.

It was the first time since Barnum Hall reopened in December 2002 — after over $7.5 million was spent on its restoration — that such a position was created. The hall had been closed since 1997.

Walker anticipates that the process of hiring the new staff will take “at least a few months.”

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