Auditorium receives renovations


Lucy Buller

NHS auditorium as seen on Apr. 12 from on stage.

Lucy Buller, Reporter

In early April, the NHS auditorium underwent large renovations, the most visible change being that the chairs were completely removed from the room. According to USD 373 district maintenance director Chris Schaeffer, the driver for the work was the need to replace the chairs but the room being empty was an opportune time to get repairs and renovations to areas that are difficult to reach when the chairs are in the room done. 

“Part of the District Capital Outlay five year plan was to replace the chairs in the auditorium. Many of them are broken and we can no longer get parts for them and they are unsafe. While the seats are out of the room it is a great time for us to work on the auditorium walls and ceiling,” Schaeffer said. “We are going to upgrade the lighting to LED lights in the areas over the seats. It is very difficult to reach the lights when the chairs are in there and the LED lights last a long time and will save money on energy in the future.”

Many groups and student activities have used the auditorium in the past, and are looking forward to the renewed space. The music and theater departments in particular have used the stage space nearly every day. Freshman Brooklynn Black is a member of the NHS concert orchestra and is looking forward to the “new look” that the auditorium will give the school. 

“I really think the new auditorium will benefit the drama and music departments in amazing ways including a new and improved learning environment,” Black said. “Our concerts and plays can hold more people now, and everyone will feel more comfortable in a renovated space.”

According to Schaeffer, the room will get repainted and the wood on the stage front and some of the stage floor will be replaced. There are spots that need maintenance and while the room is out of commission, according to Schaeffer, is the best time to do the repairs. The stairs to the stage and pit will be replaced with new stationary ones that are safer and meet modern code. The auditorium underwent some minor repairs after a fire backstage in the mid 1990’s, otherwise everything is original from the 1973 construction. The drama department and Thespian Troupe are likely the groups that use the stage and auditorium most often. Sophomore Xander Mitchell, an active Thespian and member of the drama department, is very happy that the auditorium is being renovated. 

“The auditorium feels outdated. Stuff is starting to break and rodents are starting to move in because of how old it is,” Mitchell said. “I think that renewing the auditorium will make the audience feel more comfortable when watching shows. Replacing the old seats and wood would make the place more welcoming and more safe.”

A survey of 58 NHS students showed that 73.3% thought that auditorium renovations were a necessity, while 26.7% did not think that the renovations were needed. According to Schaeffer, the capital line item for the seating replacement project is $150,000. Senior Jacob Phillips, a member of the drama department, is looking forward to the stage and pit renovations as well as the new seats. 

“I believe the seats and stage needed [the renovations] the most seeing as it was a safety hazard for students and the public,” Phillips said. “I am excited to see what becomes of the new auditorium and how the drama department will adapt.”