MEEKER I At the request of the Meeker Board of Education, Bob Amick, a representative of the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council (MACC) and technical director for the Meeker High School Drama Club, gave the board an update on the high school auditorium stage renovation project March 17.
The MACC and the school district have had an ongoing collaboration to raise funds to support the renovation of the auditorium and performing arts center.
Amick reported the total scope of the project may exceed $625,000 in order to bring the school performance facilities into compliance with modern theater arts standards.
Amick’s report stated that the existing auditorium was built in 1955 as part of the then-new Meeker High School. Since 2006, gradual improvements have been made in acquiring new stage lighting instruments and a new wireless sound system and mixer.
In 2009, as part of the bond issue to build the new elementary school, major infrastructure renovations were made to the building to address electrical and plumbing issues. The auditorium heating and air conditioning system was improved and cosmetic changes were made to the walls and ceiling along with minor electrical modifications to stage lighting circuits. However, no improvements were made to the lighting control system or wiring nor to the aging rigging and drapery, audience seating, etc.
Most of the auditorium is the original 1955 material and does not meet current standards, Amick said.
From 2006 through 2012, for Phase I of the project, Amick lists $33,000 raised from the Fairfield Trust, WREA, Meeker Human Resource Council, the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan (ERBM) Recreation and Park District and private donations; $15,000 from the Fairfield Trust in 2013; $13,000 from the Fairfield Trust in 2014; and $60,000 from the Meeker Cemetery District totaling $121,000.
Phase II, involving the digital electronic lighting control system, related wiring and signaling systems, associated wiring and digital networking systems, is projected to cost $92,000 and is currently under design and engineering.
Amick reminded the board that further work with the ERBM District on the project would require a meeting between the school board and the ERBM District board that needs to be scheduled soon, now that ERBM has their new director on board. He concluded, stating that, “Performing and fine arts programs greatly enhance student performance and development of neurological skills that enable high achievement in the core academic skills … as well as composition, leadership, poise, self-confidence and even athletics.”
The board was assured by Amick that investment in these upgrades and new technology would be easily moved to and utilized by a new venue should the district be able to build a new high school in the foreseeable future.