Westmoreland County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry was not in attendance at last month’s School Board meeting, but he left Deputy Superintendent, Cathy Rice, in charge of updating the board. One of the last things on the agenda was a facility update, which held a report about one of the biggest features of the new high school: a proper auditorium. This was especially important, considering that the auditorium escaped the budget chopping block, thanks in no small part to the local populace during a particularly grueling meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
“We requested a rendering from Grimm & Parker of what it’s projected to look like because we were having trouble envisioning the auditorium after all the value engineering we had conducted,” Rice stated. “We wanted to make sure we had an auditorium and not a conference room with a big roof.”
Chairman Ralph Fallin elaborated on the subject a bit more. In July, one of the bits of value engineering was to decrease the auditorium’s height by 8 feet.
“When you look at this rendering, don’t think that the inside is going to look exactly like what is depicted,” he iterated. “The colors were just stuck in there, the walls might look a little different, and so on. This was more about giving perspective on what it might actually look like.”
The Chairman continued, noting that the booth on the left-hand side of the picture was slated to be the new location for the controls to the auditorium, as opposed to having its own spot above the rest of the room. In turn, this allowed for the removal of the control room stairs and elevator, turning that area into a theater storage room instead; this chopped down about $160,000 from the bill.
This sets its height to about 34 feet, from the stage to the bottom of the roof. The auditorium is slated to be able to seat 450 people, and will be estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $1.5 million according to County Administrator Norm Risavi. However, according to the presentation, there are still some decisions waiting to be made, and there’s still a long way to go.
“We want to get it completed,” Fallin finished, “but not at the expense of it not being an attractive auditorium.”