Ellen Peterson 0

New Oak Grove Area High School Needs An Auditorium!

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The Davidson County School system is in the beginning stages of the design process for the new Oak Grove Area high school that is scheduled to open in 2017. Currently, the plans do not include the building of an auditorium as part of this initial construction process. As a hub for the community, this new high school has the opportunity to host a variety of cultural and community events from not only the Oak Grove community but from across the school system and county as well.

However, the lack of an auditorium will force performing groups from the school to rent other facilities for concerts and theatrical productions. The lack of an auditorium does not allow for any school assemblies, award ceremonies, presentations or large group meetings in a space that is conducive, comfortable, or appealing. The lack of an auditorium does not allow this new, state-of-the-art, high school to serve as a gathering place for the community.

With a 600 seat, well equipped auditorium, arts programs from across the county can utilize this space for performances instead of traveling to other facilities and paying hefty rental fees. With an auditorium, surrounding schools can have a place for induction ceremonies, awards presentations, and large meetings that serve as a way to highlight the many successes within our school system. With an auditorium, community groups have access to a facility for recitals, meetings, performances, and gatherings.

The only schools in Davidson County that currently have an auditorium are North Davidson High, Ledford Middle, Central Middle, Denton Elementary and Tyro Middle. None of these facilities are up to date. Across North Carolina, many new high schools are being constructed; almost all of these schools include an auditorium because constructing an auditorium now, as the part of the original construction of the school is by far more cost effective than a renovation 5, 10, or 20 years from now.

It is important to think of an auditorium at the new high school not as a space to be utilized only by programs from the high school and the Oak Grove community, but by groups from across the county. Our county’s band programs make an excellent example. Currently, each of our county bands rent Finch Auditorium for performances as it is the only space in the county with the size needed to accommodate these concerts. They each must pay over $600 per evening in rental fees and the hiring of security personnel and technicians for lighting and sound. With the construction of a new auditorium, these concerts can be hosted at the new high school. What a way to showcase our student talent in one of our own facilities!

As the plans currently stand, the new Oak Grove Area high school will feature two gymnasiums and the auditorium is listed as a future construction. This 1,000-1,200 student high school will have state of the art athletic facilities allowing for our student athletes to compete in sporting events that drive them to be better young men and women. Where is the space to allow our performing arts students to grow, shine and entertain?

Think of the possibilities one space can offer, and think of the opportunities lost without it.

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