Friday, March 16, 2012

Board names new performing arts center

Christening of new facility scheduled for late April


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

It's official: the new performing arts center at the Community Campus in Hailey is now named "Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater."

Following a brief debate, the name was unanimously approved Tuesday evening by the Blaine County School District board of trustees.

As construction draws to a close at the new facility, the district, which owns the Community Campus, is putting together plans to christen the new theater in late April. An open house is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, from 5:30-7 p.m. That will be followed by a ribbon cutting and a first evening of entertainment by the district's orchestra, band, choir and drama departments.

The decision to spend $1.54 million to remodel the aging auditorium at the Community Campus into a modern performing arts center was made by the board of trustees in September. Funding is from a 10-year, $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by Blaine County voters in 2009.

Improvements include new carpet and seats, a lobby area, catwalks for access to lighting systems, an orchestra pit, improved stage access, makeup and dressing rooms, and new sound and lighting systems.

While built primarily for student performing groups, the district also plans to make the facility available to community performing arts organizations.

At Tuesday's meeting, district Business Manager Mike Chatterton, backed up by Wood River High School choral director Max Stimac, rattled off about a dozen various names considered by an auditorium advisory committee, but told the board that the selected facility name was "Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater."

Stimac said the name is reflective of the origins of the Community Campus, which originally housed the high school, and shows that the main users will be high school performing groups.

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School board Chair Steve Guthrie said he would prefer to have "Blaine County School District" in the name, but added that "my heels aren't particularly dug in."

Stimac said the committee considered using the district in the name but decided that it "sounded a little governmental for the theater."

Trustee Paul Bates said using the district in the name "doesn't really flow—it's not theatrical."

Trustee Kathryn Graves said she liked using the high school name because it would help outside visitors "know where it is."

Wood River Middle School Principal Fritz Peters said the committee avoided proposing just the phrase "Wood River" in the name because "there's so many Wood Rivers they might end up at the Fire Department."

In other business, the school board approved calendars for the next three school years. All three years show an after-Labor Day weekend school start and closing dates after the first week of June.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com

Meeting date changed

A special Blaine County School District board of trustees meeting, originally set for March 22, has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 5. The meeting is set to run from 12-1:30 p.m. at the district office at 118 W. Bullion St. in Hailey. The meeting topic is an update on the district's Dual Immersion Program. The public is invited.




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