With “California Love” playing in the background, Dr. Dre joined Compton school and community leaders this weekend to break ground on a new, $200-million campus for Compton High School.
Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, has given $10 million for the school’s new performing arts center, which can seat more than 900 people. The facility will be named as the “Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young Performing Arts Center,” according to the Compton Unified School District.
“I was an artistic kid in school with no outlet for it,” he said said at Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “I knew I had something special to offer to the world, but with nothing to support my gift, schools left me feeling unseen.”
The pioneering rapper, whose net worth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars after selling Beats Electronics to Apple Inc. for $3 billion, has often talked about what the lack of education has meant for him. He, along with music industry mogul Jimmy Iovine who co-founded Beats Electronics, is also opening a magnet public school in South L.A. this fall. The two also donated $70 million to USC to create a new academy.
Dr. Dre attended nearby Centennial High before transferring to Fremont High in South L.A. but eventually dropped out of school.
“I’ve always wondered how much further ahead I might have been had the resources I needed in school were available,” he said at the ceremony. “If I had learned more about the business industry, I would have saved myself [an] extreme amount of time, money and most importantly, [made] a lot of friendships.”
The Compton native has spoken extensively about what his hometown means for him, even though he no longer lives there. The town was where Dr. Dre and others started N.W.A, whose debut album is titled “Straight Outta Compton.” Dr. Dre had pledged to donate royalties from his 2015 album, “Compton,” to help fund the performing arts center.
“This city is special, and young people living in it are special,” Dr. Dre said at the ceremony.
The new campus for the 126-year-old school will include over a new academic building that can serve up to 1,800 students, with the possibility to add 450 more, as well as a new gym, an aquatics center, football stadium and track. The rest of the project is funded through the district’s bond measure passed in 2015.
“This new campus that will be erected, it will be erected upon deep roots and outstanding accomplishments that have been established over decades,” said the school’s principal, Rigoberto Roman, at the ceremony. “Let us embrace this change for the sake of our future and our children’s future. This is a type of change to celebrate.”
The opening for the new campus is scheduled for the beginning of 2025.