Voters approve auditorium renovations

T he high school will get a new auditorium after voters approved a two-phase construction project Wednesday that will result in the complete renovation of the facility.

Voters were presented with two separate propositions: the replacement of the roof and the renovation of the auditorium. Both were approved by an overwhelming margin.

The proposition to replace the roof passed with 65 votes in its favor and three against, while the proposal to renovate the auditorium was approved 57 to five.

“I think the voters understood this was an opportunity to update our facilities without further tax impact,” Superintendent James Watson said.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at $625,000.

The replacement of the roof is expected to cost no more than $115,000 and would be paid for by a transfer of monies from the General Fund to a Capital Project account while the renovation of the auditorium has been estimated to cost no more than $510,000 and will be paid for by a transfer of monies from the General Fund to a Capital Project account with the balance to be paid for from the “future renovations to the Elementary and Jr./Sr. high school buildings capital reserve fund.

An architect has already been hired and plans regarding the replacement of the roof are expected to be sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval by the end of next week.

The plan is to begin work on the roof in the fall.

Watson has said in the past that it would take approximately one week of good weather to complete the replacement of the roof.

The renovation of the auditorium is expected to begin after the end of the first semester, most likely in February. A definitive timeline has not been determined, but when the project(s) was proposed, administrators expressed hope that the auditorium would be complete in time for next year’s graduation ceremonies.

When complete the project will result in a more modernized auditorium. It’s expected to include the replacement of seating, staging, carpeting, rigging and lighting, painting, and repairs and upgrades to the existing sound system.

Watson said the project is sorely needed.

The seats date back to the early to mid sixties and some are in a state of disrepair. Some work was done in the mid nineties but most of it was cosmetic in nature.

The structural design of the auditorium isn’t expected to change.  

The project(s) is the latest in a series of infrastructural improvements made at the school. Watson said the district aims to do some kind of project every year.

Over the course of the last five years, projects have been completed on the pool, the gymnasium and now the auditorium.

Critics have pointed out these projects have come despite declining enrollment at the school, but each of the project have involved facilities used by organizations outside of the school, such as local scouts and public swimming groups, to name a few.

“It’s a major component of the school and a focal point of our community,” Watson said.

 Watson said administrators have been talking with the music department about what could be done to lessen the impact construction would have on music classes, chorus and the drama clubs’ annual production.

It has been suggested that the drama club production may be moved to either the fall or spring, and band and chorus practices would be held in the large group instructional room, but a decision hasn’t been finalized yet.

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