Community support needed in renovation project

By Martin Graham -

The Historic Washington Middle School auditorium.

The Historic Washington Middle School auditorium.

The Washington City School District is attempting to secure funding to continue the renovations and updating of the Historic Washington Middle School auditorium on Temple Street in Washington Court House.

The auditorium, built in 1939, has been the community’s “heart of the arts,” according to grant writer Pam Feick, who has been helping to lead the charge for renovations. In the attempt to secure this funding, she and the school district are asking the community to write to two representatives to make sure the project is included in the upcoming budget planning. The budget planning will begin in January or February, according to Feick.

The project is appropriated money through a line item in the capital improvements bill, enacted in even numbered years by the General Assembly. In an effort to make sure the project is included, it needs to have the support of the district’s representatives in the General Assembly. Since the facility is widely used and enjoyed by the community, Feick said that she and the schools would appreciate any support individuals or organizations could give to the project.

“To get the funds, basically you need to have your representatives support it so they can get it into the line item section,” Feick said during an interview Tuesday. “When we got our grant from the last round, representative Gary Scherer said that a big reason that helped in getting it was the community support. The letters they wrote in helped to show the importance of the building and that we could really use some help getting it fixed up. We are trying to ask people to write to them and tell them what we use the auditorium for, and what it means to each of us in the community.”

With funds acquired from 2014, the group completed renovation of the 1940 Memorial Pipe Organ, will be purchasing a small amount of lighting equipment, will be purchasing chairs, music stands and risers, and will be helping to remedy some moisture issues.

The school district anticipates additional sound, lighting and rigging equipment to be purchased, an expansion of the stage to be completed, improvement of the restroom and facility handicap area to be finished, plaster and painting of damaged areas to be accomplished, and grand stage and wall curtains to be purchased. All of this is possible with the help of the grant. The community’s support by writing to representatives would be instrumental in getting this done.

Letters may be sent to: Office of Representative Gary Scherer, Ohio House of Representatives, District 92, 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 or Office of Senator Bob Peterson, Ohio Senate Building, District 17, 1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

For more information, or to have a letter picked up to include in the project proposal, contact Feick at (740) 335-6831 or at 2174 St. Rt. 41 NE in Washington C.H.

The Historic Washington Middle School auditorium. Historic Washington Middle School auditorium.

By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy