KIDS IN MOTION: New Roads students practice dance in the lobby of the new Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice last week. The students are working with nonprofit dance group Contra Tiempo. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

KIDS IN MOTION: New Roads students practice dance in the lobby of the new Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice last week. The students are working with nonprofit dance group Contra Tiempo. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

OLYMPIC BLVD — Jeanne Meyers’ dream has finally come true.

The co-founder of the My Hero Project, Inc., an online digital storytelling project used in classrooms across the globe, is renting space for her nonprofit at the new Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Roads School on the east end of town.

Not only does she get access to a state-of-the-art theatre with over 340 seats, she’s also able to tap into the creative minds of New Roads students, faculty and other nonprofits located inside the village’s Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice, which opened last November.

My Hero Project works with the New Roads students who are studying documentary storytelling. The project, which has been online since 1995 and was co-founded by Rita Stern Milch, moved into the space in January.

“It’s an ongoing commitment,” Meyers said.

A total of 12 nonprofits moved in late last year and early 2013 at Olympic Boulevard in what school officials said is an effort to increase collaboration between New Roads and the nonprofits. The space will serve as an “incubator for ideas,” Nancy London, communications director of New Roads, said. There will be a “cross fertilization” of curriculum among the school and nonprofits.

“The hope is they will collaborate with each other but also [there would be] opportunities for New Roads students for internships and projects,” London said.

The Capshaw-Spielberg building, named after actress Kate Capshaw and her husband, Oscar-award-winning director Steven Spielberg, cost $24 million to build, and has space for classrooms for New Roads, a community room and offices for the nonprofits. London said New Roads took out a tax exempt bond for $13 million and the rest of the cost came from private donations.

The rents range between $1,400 to $1,800 a month for nonprofits, and include use of the theater for two free nights per year and use of the community room to conduct meetings, London said.

The aim is the new theater will not only be helpful for nonprofits to use as a venue, but a “tremendous boon to the school’s own performing arts program,” London said. The theater will also be available for use by two dance companies that have offices in the new building, who can provide dance programming for the New Roads students, she said. The theater will serve as New Roads’ theater space and is available for rent by public organizations.

When any of the nonprofits has a program in the theater, the school gets a block of free tickets, which helps families who may not be able to afford tickets, London said.

In phase two of the redevelopment of New Roads School, London said the school is going to add new classrooms, labs and gym facilities.

 

ameera@smdp.com

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