WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — The Washington Court House City School (WCHCS) District recently held an informational meeting to discuss the next phases of renovation at the Historic Washington Auditorium.
WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey shared some information from the meeting.
“We’ve been working hard to fund some renovations at the old middle school, especially through grants. We have been awarded four rounds of grants now in total,” he said. “In this most recent grant, we were awarded $300,000. One of the things that we’ve realized is the fact that we tore down the vast majority of that property. The building was not being utilized to its fullest capacity and was just really an eyesore for the community and a haven for illicit activity and vandalism. The neighborhood is definitely much better without that building up.”
He continued, “We just finished the parking lot project. We had to take down the crossover between the auditorium and the apartments and repair their building and put it back to where it needs to be. The rest of the grant is paying for upgrades and improvements in the classroom areas of the building. There’s still the space for six classrooms. One of the classrooms was turned into bathrooms for our patrons since we did not have full size bathrooms at the auditorium. We are developing a classroom over there for our alternative school. The county is not allowing us to use the space that we’ve used for years for the alternative school in one of their facilities and here in town. So, once we vacate that classroom at the alternative school, it’s going to move over to this new classroom at the auditorium site.”
According to Bailey, approximately 125 parking spots have been created as a result of the parking lot project. He mentioned that the grant will also help pay for a concession area as well as two dressing rooms for performers.
“Right now, they don’t have dressing rooms nor bathrooms for the performers. So, it will be developed into that and we’re really, really excited about that for our drama program and our instrumental and vocal music programs. I think this is going to be a huge boost for us,” Bailey said. “We’re hoping to do more in the area of drama. We are going to delve into doing a summer drama program for the first time even though we’re under construction. Our middle school was getting ready to perform Madagascar the week that COVID-19 had shut down the schools in March of 2020, so we are going to bring that back and finish that show. The students who were eighth graders are now going to be going into their senior year, so they’re in high school now. We’re going to open this up to the entire school community to participate in and be part of this drama program. We’re really excited about doing a summer drama program over at the auditorium.”
He finished, “Once this phase of the auditorium renovations is complete and this grant money is used up, we will apply for another grant. We are interested in remodeling and rehabbing the inside of the auditorium itself with upgraded lighting, sound, and seating to make it more comfortable for the audience. We also want it to be more appealing so that we can continue to build the offerings of what we’re bringing into the auditorium, not just our own student performers, but outside groups as well to give our community more opportunity to see the arts in town without having to travel to Columbus or Cincinnati or Dayton.”