Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2010

Work progresses on performing arts center; crews aim for summer finishing date

Construction crews continue working on the new Performing Arts Center Tuesday between Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School. The project is excpected to be completed sometime this summer with an opening next fall.

Construction crews continue working on the new Performing Arts Center Tuesday between Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School. The project is excpected to be completed sometime this summer with an opening next fall.

December 2, 2010

It’s been more than two years since voters approved building a new performing arts center as part of the 2008 USD 348 bond issue, and it looks be another six or seven months until the facility is completed.

Construction began on the $4.7 million project last spring, with much of the base structure being completed when school started in August. Crews continue to work on the performing arts center, but the target date for finishing the project is summer 2011.

“The project seems to be moving forward quite well,” USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy said. “I think they’re a little ahead of schedule, but they are still looking at a finishing date of sometime this coming summer. If it gets done before then, that’s great, but I don’t think anybody should plan for anything more than it being ready for next school year.”

With the large outside panels in place and the temperature dropping, construction crews have moved to the inside of the performing arts center during the last couple of months. During recent weeks, crews have begun pouring the concrete for the stage and the flooring, as well as filling in the gaps between the pre-cast panels with insulation and caulking.

While the base of the project was built months ago, there is work to be completed on the outside of the building. Part of that work began this week between the PAC and Baldwin High School.

“They are going to be starting on the bus drop-off area behind the PAC,” Dorathy said. “They will also be working on the covered walkway between the high school and junior high.”

When the new facility is finished, there will be a school bus loop southwest of the building. There will be a covered walkway between the buildings so junior high and high school students can stay dry as they make their way to and from buses.

The center will include a better theatrical environment and will also be a Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room for up to 1,800 people. The seating capacity of the new PAC will be 600.

“This one won’t seat many more people, but it will be a whole lot more modernized,” Dorathy said. “The old one has lots of challenges with lighting, sound system, size of the stage and seating issues. The new auditorium addresses all of those issues. It will be much easier for instructors and students to work with.”

Construction has created some problems. The fencing around the site has shrunk the BHS parking lot by approximately one-third of the parking spots. Visitors for activities in the BJHS gymnasium or auditorium must now enter on the east side of the building.

In May, the parking situation may become an even bigger issue. Baldwin High’s annual commencement ceremony attracts hundreds of visitors, who fill or exceed the parking lot east of BHS.

“We can be hopeful we could get some of the parking lot back, but no guarantees that will happen,” Dorathy said. “The good thing is that’s late May, so there is a possibility we could remove some fencing or open some doors, but no guarantees.”

Although there are problems now, Dorathy is excited about the new facility opening.

“I think it will be something that the community will be very proud of when it’s complete,” he said. “It’s multi-purposed in the fact that it’s a performing arts center for the education of students, but it’s also a facility that can be used as a safe room. It will be a great asset for our district.”


Torch 8 years ago

Monument to stupidity.


true_bulldog 8 years ago

Thank God, Torch, you finally posted. I thought you were dead or something since you hadn't posted to this. I don't often agree with you, but I do on this one. That thing is monstrous. Still can't believe the voters passed that bond issue with this thing on it.


BaldwinDad 8 years ago

I agree....What a waste.

While the voters that voted for the Bond knew what they were voting for had put their faith in the administration and the BOE. That faith was misplaced which has become obvious now with the fact that we are spending millions on building sports facilities and a performing arts center, while we are looking at possibly cutting funding to education of grades K-5.


ksrush 8 years ago

I believe the following quote sums up the mentality of the voters and BOE regarding the Bond issue " stupid is as stupid does " . Seriously nobody saw this ?


Bloggerboo 8 years ago

You people are not thinking clearly. That is different money. None of that money that funded the bond issue projects could be used to pay for the problems the district has now. It is coming out of your pocket, in the form of taxes, and it cannot be diverted to pay for anything else. It must be used to pay for those items. So, whether we have them or not, is having no impact whatsoever on the current financial problems. In fact, the bids all came in lower, and that auditorium you all are complaining about had a significant percentage paid for by the state because we made into a safe house against tornadoes.


true_bulldog 8 years ago

And that bond money will pay for the utilities and upkeep of these new facilities? No. Heating and cooling the performing arts center will be expensive. That comes out of the district budget so it is a part of the problem.


BaldwinDad 8 years ago

Lets not forget all the interest we are paying back for that wasteful bond that was passed with over 8 million in pointless and expensive items that the district could have lived with out.

We all know we can't use those funds for the districts mismanaged current problems, but we could have used less of an interest payment on that same bond or more of that money should have been allotted to making the new PC big enough to actually house all the kids comfortably if they decide to close MS or VES or as you have pointed out countless times Bloggerbooo to fix up all the repairs needed at the HS or the JHS. Then there is the fact they could have used some of it to build a well at the school to try and defer some the almost $30k we spend each year on watering the fields for sports teams, but no it's spent on pointless things like this that were not NEEDED.


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