T he first phase of a two phase construction project that will result in the complete renovation of theWhitehallHigh Schoolauditorium is complete.
Crews completed the replacement of the auditorium roof last week despite several delays caused by a string of wet weather.
“We were a little concerned with the rain but we had a few days of clear weather and they were able to get the work done,” said Jodi Bradshaw, district business manager. “Everything went smoothly.”
Work on the roof began the week of Sept. 19 and after one day of work the project was briefly delayed because of wet weather. Workers, however, caught a break with several days of dry weather and were able to complete the work last week.
Bradshaw said the work was done quickly and efficiently with one crew working through the night to remove an old section of the roof and another crew coming in the next morning to replace the old section.
And perhaps the best part, workers encountered no surprises and the project came in right on budget.
“There were no changes in the contract,” Bradshaw said.
The second phase of the project-the renovation of the auditorium-is tentatively scheduled to begin sometime after the new year, most likely in February.
Bradshaw said the plans are currently being reviewed by the New York State Education Department and once they are approved the district will begin the bidding process.
When complete the project will result in a more modernized auditorium. It’s expected to include the replacement of sitting, staging, carpeting, rigging and lighting, painting and repairs and upgrades to the existing sound system.
Despite the renovations, the structural design of the auditorium isn’t expected to change.
The two-phase project was overwhelmingly approved by voters earlier this summer.
The proposition to replace the roof passed 65-3, while the proposal to renovate auditorium was approved by a 57-5 margin.
Although no one has spoken out against the project at any Board of Education meetings, there have been some who have criticized the project as another unneeded project; it joins as the gymnasium and pool as major capital projects completed in the last several years.
However officials have countered that the projects have all involved facilities that receive heavy use by organizations outside the realm of the school. For instance, the auditorium and gymnasium play host to a multitude of community events during the year and members of the community frequently use the pool.
Officials also contend that the project will have no impact on taxes.
The total cost of the project has been estimated at $625,000; $115,000 for the roof and $510,000 for renovations. Those costs are being paid for by a transfer of monies from the General Fund to a Capital Project account and a reserve account that had been set aside for “future renovations to the Elementary and Jr./Sr. high school buildings.”
Officials are hopeful that the entire scope of the project will be complete by the end of the school year.