Southern Regional Board of Education Soon to Start Discussing an Auditorium Overhaul

Nov 22, 2017

As is typical of the Southern Regional Board of Education November meeting, the agenda on Nov. 15 was a light one. However, one tidbit of information delivered by Business Administrator Steve Terhune provided a glimpse into something of extreme importance that likely is coming down the pike.

Next month, the board is expected to begin discussions on precisely what it wants to do as it seeks to make several building improvements during next summer’s break. One project in particular may be an overhaul of the high school’s auditorium, in the 9/10 building.

“The committee did meet earlier tonight to begin discussion on projects that will be appearing on the December agenda for board action for work during the summer of 2018,” Terhune announced. “That will include the high school auditorium and high school interior door projects. Those are the two main projects that were discussed ,and formal action will begin in December and thereafter.”

While the interior doors are by no means a small project, given the size of the high school building, the auditorium stands as the big-ticket project for next summer. After the meeting, Superintendent Craig Henry offered some insights, saying the current auditorium is the original one from when the school was first built, during the mid-1950s.

“We’ve been funneling away money for a bunch of years, knowing that this was going to be something that had to be done at some point,” Henry said. “The stage needs repair, and the lighting and sound systems need to be upgraded. It’s time. It’s the original auditorium, and for the benefit of the students we believe it’s the right time to make mass changes to it. And our intention is to not bond for this project. We’re trying to do what’s best for our students, but we don’t intend to go to referendum for this.”

Without exact specifications just yet, Terhune estimated the auditorium overhaul to cost well over a million dollars, but it’s too early in the process to determine a precise figure. He expects the board will approve a dollar amount to allocate toward the project, and it will be up to Terhune and the projects committee to find contractors that will provide estimates at or less than that amount. If the board approves the move to seek bids, Terhune said that process may begin early in the spring.

Last summer, the district replaced the roof for the 9/10 building. And as with that project, Terhune and the committee will seek out contractors that will complete most or all of the auditorium work needed during the summer break – starting the day after the school year ends in mid-June and finishing up just before Labor Day.

Besides the board paying homage to the Golden Rams Marching Band, which recently captured the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championship title, one of the more interesting reports came from student council representative Kyra Zdep, who detailed several service projects being organized by the council.

“We’re going to provide meals for random families that we know can use a Thanksgiving dinner,” she said afterward. “A lot of families don’t go anywhere for Thanksgiving because of work, and some can’t afford to buy food for a Thanksgiving dinner. So we’re going to package meals – with the whole shebang ... a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce – in boxes and surprise some families.”

For Christmastime, the student council also has organized a teen-gift drive, through which Southern students and staff will provide basic necessities and other items that will be given to teens in the area.

— David Biggy

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