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Posted: 9:15 PM- In "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," Troy and Gabriella, played by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, wonder how their relationship will weather separation when they attend different colleges.
Some East High School students have different concerns since Disney began filming the last installment of the mega-hit franchise at their school May 3. Chief among them? Whether or not they'll have access to their lockers or parking.
"You have to hurry," said 16-year-old sophomore Cydnie Garcia. "Or not get there at all. Sometimes I'm really lucky to get my stuff."
Whatever "HSM" wants, "HSM" gets, Garcia said. A little more air-conditioning? Done. Extras parking in the student lot? Check. Dimmer lights? Check. "Our school just seems glum," she said of the grayer halls.
Some students said they've even braved rabid "tween" fans prowling the halls for Efron's autograph.
"Just seeing those stars makes me want to get angry," said 17-year-old junior Harrison Montgomery, clutching his skateboard. "We get pushed back."
But for every student who complains, there are many who dig the excitement, or have no reaction at all. It may well depend on locker location. Those at the school's south end are used for shooting scenes, while those at the north end are undisturbed. With cast and crew taking Sundays and Mondays off, students have at least one day per week to catch their breath, if only to appreciate the movie's cast.
"I have no complaints whatsoever," said junior Martin Trujillo. "The girls are hot."
You won't hear complaints from the school, or Salt Lake City School District, either. As the shooting site for the first and second installments of the smash television franchise, East High School has learned to use the publicity to its advantage, selling tie-in merchandise on its Web site. That publicity is certain to rise by the time the made-for-theaters installment opens nationwide on Oct. 24.
There are fringe benefits, too. The film's production crew has graced the school with new auditorium curtains, plus fresh coats of paint in the library, hallways and even those hard-to-reach lockers. The district signed a $75,000 agreement with Disney for rental of the school that district spokesman Jason Olsen said is bound to change once filming is complete.
Coordinating this year's film's production schedule with classes has been a bigger task than in the past, but less hectic because of better planning, said assistant principal Martin Yablonovsky. A few facilities, such as the main-level gym, have been closed off to students. The film crew changed shooting locations upon learning that the school's ballroom would be used for advanced placement exams. Most of the shooting happens late in the day or after school.
"They look at our calendar first to work around our schedule," Yablonovsky said.
For 15-year-old sophomore Malinda Fisher, the biggest drawback to dealing with a piece of Hollywood in your hallway is the attitude. "We're treated as if we care that they're here," she said. "Really, we don't."
Oh, but they do. "I disagree. Zac Efron is cute," said 15-year-old freshman Taylor Martinez, who will be an extra in the film for several days. "Everyone tries to act like it's no big deal, or that it's dumb. It's not dumb."