Helen Bernstein High School – The New William McKinley High from “Glee”Nov 1st, 2010 | By Lindsay | Category: Glee Filming Locations
A little birdie recently told me that fave show Glee was no longer filming on location at Juan Cabrillo High School in Long Beach – a locale which I blogged about back in January of this year – and that producers had found a new school to stand in for the fictional William McKinley High, one that is located a bit closer to Paramount Studios where the series is lensed. So, I immediately started digging around the internet to find out exactly which school was now being used and fairly quickly came across this YouTube video which an anonymous person had taken of the cast while they were filming the Season 2 episode of the show titled “Audition”. In the comments section, the video’s author explained that the segment had been taped at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood. So, I immediately put the location high up on my “To Stalk” list and after embarking on the Paramount Tour with fellow stalker Lavonna and her friends Beth, Debbie, and Connie, who were in town visiting from Ohio a few weeks back, we all set out to stalk the new William McKinley High.
Helen Bernstein High School, which was named after the former president of the Los Angeles teachers’ union who passed away in 1997, just recently opened in the fall of 2008. The school was constructed by the award-winning Chicago-based architecture firm of Perkins+Will in order to help ease the overcrowding at both John Marshall High School in Los Feliz and Hollywood High School in Hollywood. The four-story school, which boasts 2,000 students, sits on 12. 4 acres of land, and measures a whopping 238,492 square feet of learning space, is easily one of the largest educational institutions that I’ve ever come across in my entire life! The place is absolutely massive, and in an interesting historical note, was built on the former site of Fox Television Center/KTTV Studios, where such iconic shows as Saved by the Bell, Maude, One Day at a Time, Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, In Living Color, The Jeffersons and the pilot episode of Family Ties were filmed. The studio, which later changed its name to Metromedia Square, was sold to the the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2000 and just three years later it was demolished entirely to make way for the new high school. You can read more about the construction of Helen Bernstein High here.
The area of the school that is most prominently featured on Glee is the main quad, which was the site of the New Directions’ rousing performance of “Empire State of Mind” in the “Audition” episode and the spot that I most wanted to stalk. And even though we had waited until 4 p.m. to visit Helen Bernstein, after school was already over for the day, I wasn’t sure how amenable the staff would be to letting us onto the property. When we explained that we were HUGE Glee fans, though, and that Lavonna and her friends were in town visiting all the way from Ohio, one of the super nice office administrators agreed to bring us over to the quad area and then allowed us to take all of the photographs of the place that we wanted! YAY!
In the “Empire State of Mind” scene, the Glee kids put on a lunchtime show in order to try to entice their fellow McKinley High students to join New Directions. And I have to say that the performance has to be one of my all-time favorites of the entire series, most likely because I absolutely love that song. In fact, I think I like the Glee kids’ version of it even more than I do the original! “In Neeeeew Yoooooooork . . . “
You can watch the FABULOUS “Empire State of Mind” scene by clicking above.
While we were stalking the quad, Lavonna, Beth, and I got to act out our own little mini-versions of the scene, which I was absolutely floored about.
All of the William McKinley High School gym scenes – even those filmed during Season 1 – take place at Helen Bernstein, as well.
As do the cafeteria scenes, but unfortunately we were not able to stalk those two areas while we were there. You can see some fabulous interior photographs of the school here, though.
And, according to the YouTube video commenters, the scene in which Finn Hudson (aka Cory Monteith ) sang “Hello, I Love You” in the Season 1 episode titled “Hell-O” was also filmed at Helen Bernstein High School.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Helen Bernstein High School, aka the new William McKinley High School from Glee, is located at 1309 North Wilton Place in Hollywood. Please remember that Helen Bernstein is a working high school and is not actually open to the public. If you would like to visit it, I recommend doing so on off hours when children are not present and always, always get permission from a staff member in the main office before entering the school grounds. The area where the Glee kids sung “Empire State of Mind” is the main quad, which is located just due east of the school’s entrance and is denoted with the pink arrows in the above aerial view.