Latta High School lost its auditorium to a fire in 1972. This venue had for decades been the center of Latta's cultural life. Chapel programs, plays, recitals, pageants, and various other performances were held there. For years after the fire, students had far less venues for performances and events than the one enjoyed by others prior to that fire.
In 2012, Fred and Bonnie Ard Ellis, Latta High Alumni, gave a generous gift to make a state-of-the-art performance auditorium in Latta a reality. Construction was begun on the $2.5 million renovation of the old gymnasium that now includes the Rice auditorium, an auditorium plaza, lighting and sound systems, and other performing arts technology. Students are trained in the use of this latest technology. The training and actual hands-on technology have helped to prepare students for future job opportunities.
An adventure began in Latta and the surrounding communities in the summer of 2013 with the grand opening of the Ellis Performing Arts Center. As Winnie the Pooh once said, " As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen."