The liberal arts college opened its first permanent building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles last month and is planning to hold a grand opening gala next week that will be attended by some of the school's most famous alumni including Denis Leary, Jennifer Coolidge, Maria Menounos and Henry Winkler.
The $85 million, 10-story building features wired classrooms, an open-air screening and live performance space, a post-production suite, computer labs, faculty offices, a screening room and a restaurant open to the public. It can also house up to 217 students who previously resided in leased apartments.
Students participating in the program take two courses while also participating in an internship in television, film, marketing, acting, screenwriting, journalism or another field.
About 100 upperclassmen take part in the Emerson Los Angeles program each semester. The new permanent facility means the program can grow to about 200 students per semester.
Doug Herzog, president of Viacom Entertainment Group and a 1981 graduate of Emerson, said the new, permanent facility will help the Boston-based school further cement its reputation in the West Coast city.
"Having our own home base, and own sort of flagship as it were, changes everything for the kids who are going to be here and for the Emersonians going to work here and continuing to build the Emerson reputation and brand. And for those in town who don't know a lot about Emerson, it sends a real message: we're here to play and we're here to stay," Herzog said in a telephone interview.
Emerson's Los Angeles program was started in 1986 and has had more than 4,300 students participate. In 2008, the college bought a vacant lot on Sunset Boulevard and began construction on the 107,000-square-foot facility in 2012.
"Emerson LA will provide our students with an unparalleled hands-on experience that only living in this great city can offer," Emerson President Lee Pelton said in a statement.