SAN DIEGO — Morse High School was the only San Diego Unified school that does not have a performing arts center — until now.

On Tuesday morning, the school community celebrated the progress on the construction of its new performing arts center. The final steel beam was hoisted as part of a topping-off ceremony. 

Prior to that, graduating seniors got to sign the beam, leaving their legacy behind. 

The school is being modernized in phases. The new performing arts center will replace aging portables. It will include a grand stage, LED lighting, a theatrical orchestra enclosure, a fly-oft and more.

Dr. Cynthia Larkin, principal at Morse High, told FOX 5 the construction was a long time coming.

“Morse was established in 1962 so it’s been 61 years coming,” Larkin said. “We’re super excited to have a new performing arts center as well as a new admin building. We have a phenomenal arts program and music program … we’ve been performing in the cafeteria, auditorium. And so there’s not enough room, not enough space. The lighting is poor. To be able to have a state-of-the-art facility is really going to show them that we appreciate all they do. “

Construction has been going on since June, and the project is expected to be completed by next fall.

A new student services building is also under construction right next door.