$2.6 Million Auditorium Overhaul at Southern Regional High School Complete

Aug 29, 2018
Photo by: Margot Miller

A $2.6 million newly renovated, state-of-the-art auditorium with about 80 more seats in Southern Regional’s 9/10 building awaits students and teachers as the first day of school approaches.

“Under Steve’s direction, the auditorium project is just about complete,” Superintendent Craig Henry told the school board at its meeting Aug. 22, as he praised Business Administrator Steve Terhune’s efforts. “It’s been a herculean job by the contractors, all overseen by Steve, and it all came in under budget and on time.”

On Tuesday, Henry confirmed the auditorium project was done – minus the installation of a handicap lift and some small technological enhancements which still need to be set in place during the coming weeks.

“We had no internal roadblocks, the communication has been great, and the contractors have been fantastic,” Henry said following last week’s board meeting. “This was a complete teardown. The entire auditorium was gutted and everything inside of it was rebuilt, with all new seating, stage, infrastructure and superstructure. It’s exactly what we had hoped for and more.”

The most significant change to the auditorium is the infrastructure upgrades, Henry said. A new sound system, lighting, control tower, sound booth and acoustics are expected to fulfill the growing needs of the performing arts and music programs.

“It’s all state-of-the-art now, and it’s a well-deserved change for our students and performing arts and music advisers,” he said. “For many years, our students – from the musicians to the actors and actresses – and staff have done amazing work in a substandard environment. They’ve done so much with what little they had to work with and always have done high-level work. Now they have the accoutrements and surroundings to meet the level of excellence for which they strive.”

The only slight alteration to the original plan was that 14 seats had to be scrapped from the design because the auditorium gets thinner toward the back of it, Henry said. Still, because the new design eliminated the outside aisles to allow seating to stretch outward to the walls, the auditorium now has nearly 700 seats, about 80 more than the previous auditorium.

“There were two outside aisles in the old auditorium and one center aisle,” Henry said. “Now, we have two inside aisles and the seating goes all the way out to the walls. And even though the stage was extended outward, it still gave us the room to increase the seating capacity, which we needed because all our musical and performing arts shows get sold out. It was either add more nights to the programs or increase the seating capacity.”

All of the work on the auditorium was done without any budget increases or a referendum.

“I don’t know any district that can pull off this kind of project without a referendum,” Henry said, once again going back to Terhune’s prowess within his role. “Through Steve’s oversight and planning – squirreling away some money here and there for five years – we were able to complete this project. What we have now is going to serve our students for decades to come, and it was all done in-house, within our budget and well below our 2 percent cap.”

— David Biggy


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