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Centennial Finance Committee Approves Upgrade of High School Sound System

With added features that will enhance William Tennent's new auditorium, the final cost will be approximately $513,000.

What's the point of having a brand new auditorium without a state-of-the-art sounds system to go with it? That was the feeling generated last night by the Centennial School District's finance committee as it approved the acceptance of $513,839 in upgraded bids to enhance the audio and visual functionality of William Tennent's new theater.

"This will be a premiere facility capable of putting on high-end productions," said committee chairman Tom Reinboth.

The lowest base bid, which provides the primary function of an audio system that would amplify stage productions and musicals, came from Starlight Productions at $269,364. The first upgrade would add clusters of left and right speakers, providing a much better sound quality and giving engineers better control of the levels.

The next two enhancement packages addressed the projection capabilities, the first adding a center screen at the front of the stage with a single projector. The placement of the screen and projector, however, would deny visibility for the left and right wings of the theater. Thus, the need for option "C," which prescribes three screens, each with its own projector, allowing for full visibility.

The final enhancement, and cheapest addition, is a duplicate sound mixing board that can be installed in a separate classroom that would be hooked into audio/visual feeds from the theater and give students the opportunity to experiment with the sound levels of a program without disturbing the audience.

Committee member Mark Miller argued that the $27,990 cost for the equipment and installation should be taken from another source, since it would technically not be inside the theater. 

"I would love to have as many educational luxuries as possible," said Miller. "I just don't think we have the budget for it."

Fellow committee members Reinboth and Michael Hartline did not share Miller's apprehensiveness, feeling that the ultimate educational value outweighed the financial burden.

"The cost of everything is staggering," said Reinboth. "But this little piece is part of giving a unique educational experience for the students, and that's ultimately what we are here to do."

The proposal will go to the full school board for final approval on Nov. 22.

Steve G November 15, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Spend, Spend and Spend More!!!! Does it ever end! This School District is in debt up to its ears and they are spending more money that they do not have. In Utopia, this would be great. In the real world, unfortunately this enhancement should wait until the moeney is there. Obviously, until now they were able to get by with the current sound system and they are going to have to live with it for a few more years until the district finances are better. It is sad that many residents with much more knowledge of finance and fiscal responsibility have no desire to run for the School Board and we are left with the members that we have. It is difficult not to get re-elected if you have no opposition!
Pete Krenshaw November 15, 2011 at 03:06 PM
I went for a tour of the new facilities during the open house and grand opening. When I went into the auditorium I noticed a pedestal in the center of the seating area where a sound board would go but nothing was there. It was just an empty area of concrete blocks... So something had to be done. Now for the question of dollars, perhaps the money allocated to the planetarium (about $1million) would have been better spent in the auditorium. They don't even have the faculty to run the planetarium anymore so basically we have a glorified multi-media room with a hefty price tag.
Jeanne Houghton November 15, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Voting has consequences, elect a big spender and get higher taxes without the benefit of the community as a whole. This sound system must be made of gold. I beleive the taxpayor just got hosed with this deal.
Pamela November 15, 2011 at 05:22 PM
This is a joke. Our Seniors are using the faculty bathroom as a darkroom for photography classes and this board is spending money on UPGRADES. Here is a novelty idea: Why don't you try finishing a project BEFORE YOU UPGRADE?. I would love for this board to release the total cost todate on this high school. I can guarentee that it is ABOVE THE APPROVAL AMOUNT OF THE BOARD and is required by LAW to have gone to REFERANDUM before the community! MISMANAGEMENT, FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE. This board should be in front of a judge!
warmama November 15, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Are they kidding me?!! They are laying off teachers and staff, cutting services, decreasing busing, but hey....as long as we have a Cadillac sound system in the auditorium to brag about, our kids are getting a great education???!! These people are crazy.
Pamela November 15, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Money is no object!. They are just going to raise our taxes next year. Thank you Mr. Reinboth. Yes, What good is new auditorium without a good sound system. How about you put in a $100 stereo. Personally I think you should try hiring teachers to teach my children and stop spending money on extras that we don't need. Oh that's right my daughter is getting an education, as the construction workers undress in front of the windows of the old building during Asbestos removal....
Jeanne Houghton November 15, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Yea, its gonna get really bad since the voters in bucks county for the first time in many many years gave controll to the Democrats. Watch our taxes go thru the roof and I really would love to see the bill...
Licepickers November 15, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Democrat, Republican? It doesn't matter. No one goes to the school board meeting. The board members see this apathy as a go ahead to do as they please.
Pete Krenshaw November 15, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Can't deny you are correct about the apathy and that the Board has been running roughshod over the taxpayers for years now. BUT - the Board is not divided by party but by geography and ideals. Most of the time the Warminster members push around the Upper Southampton members which creates the "interesting" political dynamic we have seen. I am personally looking forward to the reorganization when the newly elected members will come in. Let's hope they are not like the rest of them. I am cautiously optimistic which is probably a mistake on my part.
Jane November 15, 2011 at 11:48 PM
What is going on here? This is nuts!!! It is difficult to be a senior and live in this township with taxes rising all the time. I came from another township but taxes here have risen far more than in Upper Moreland. I just hope the schools are giving the education deserving of the students that live here.
Pamela November 16, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Excuse me but it was Ms.Mueller from Upper Southampton that pushed the whole elementary school consolidation down the community's throat. Warminster Representatives fought it, but lost. Now MILLIONS of dollars later she turns around and states that school vouchers would be better for our community AFTER she has destroyed our schools. That is how OUR TAXES got raised over the last 6 years. Upper Southampton has voted for the NEW high school. the new elementary schools, the new buses, the new administration building, all of the UPGRADES,and the fiasco over park in Southampton. I really wish Upper Southampton would merge with Lower Southampton and maybe our district would not be in the finanical mess that we now find ourselves in. I moved here for the neighborhood schools and the quality of education. Unfortunately that has been destroyed and quality is no longer there.
HONEST MOM November 16, 2011 at 12:47 PM
I do believe it's time to stop this ridiculous spending. The new schools, the constant upgrades are a bit too much for the taxpayer's to handle. All of us are struggling with the crazy increase in the price of food and utilities and there you go spending more money. I too believe the school board does just what they want to do without regard to what the people of this community want. After reading some of the above comments I have to agree. Our buses are late! Our buses are overcrowded with 3 to a seat and those concerns are left unattended. As for the construction workers I have to shake my head. I have no doubt they are doing that in front of the windows. The companies that have worked on those buildings are ridiculous. During the construction last winter I was amazed that roofing kettles were left where kids could get to them, ladders were left leaning up to the roof, gates were moved and kids could get in the construction area and the debris laying around was a lawsuit waiting to happen. New things are wonderful but not when we can't afford them! Teachers have been let go and next year the class sizes will increase with less teachers at all levels. We are letting excellent teachers go for what? So we can have the best sound system. Please...get your priorities straight. Maybe our school board wants us all to move because in 12 years my taxes have sky rocketed!
New Concerned Neighbor November 16, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Mr. Reinboth, you stated: "The cost of everything is staggering," said Reinboth. "But this little piece is part of giving a unique educational experience for the students, and that's ultimately what we are here to do." Our economy is struggling...taxes have risen, again. The planetarium appears to be a waste or at least highly mismanaged. Speaking of planetariums, what planet are you living on? You won't have to worry about a unique student experience, parents won't be able to afford to live here! Perhaps you planted some $$ trees too!
James Boyle (Editor) November 16, 2011 at 06:30 PM
I'm going to put on my taxpayer and Centennial parent hat on for a second and say something here. The cost is a shock, especially in the context of the rest of the money that has gone toward this project. But other departments of the school have received significant upgrades, such as the new stadium and gymnasium facilities. The arts department has produced an award-winning marching band and a choral group that has been invited to the 2012 Olympics. The school play and musical are always popular events. The top-notch talent and education is there, it's time to give them the resources to match.
SRF November 16, 2011 at 09:05 PM
As a recent Tennent grad who was active in theatre, I'm biased, I know. The cost of this project is the problem, and that's what should be discussed, not the necessity of the upgrade. I don't want to see taxes rise, so let's find a way to fund this project the way the district managed to fund the new stadium. Sure, those in the theatre program have always has always been able to "make it work" but why should they have to? That "making it work" mindset was the reasoning behind not doing major renovations in the auditorium when the new building was constructed other than cosmetic fixes and doing a few repairs to the old systems. The Tennent theatre program is underestimated because of the poor resources. There are dead spots in the auditorium where it is impossible to hear the action onstage clearly, no matter how loudly the actors project or how the tech crews adjust the current sound system. At least before they cleaned the lights this summer and replaced burt-out bulbs, there were areas of the stage that could not be well-lit. Ever. My class had many extraordinarily talented performers who never got the same education as students at CR South, for example, who have had the opportunity to host world-premiere productions thanks to their state-of-the-art resources. Until Tennent updates the system, students will never receive the arts training they deserve, especially in the technical areas of production. The program will never be given the recognition it deserves.
Jeanne Houghton November 17, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Sorry a half million dollars? The tax payer is getting ripped. HS should only be an introduction to the arts with further advancement after HS in a private institution. You can make all the justifications for it, however i am sure there is a way to get a sound system without it costing 1/2 million dollars.
l s November 18, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Folks in Centennial are being led astray by the school board. The school board is ready, set and going to increase class sizes, cut up to 50 teachers and eliminate elective classes in the high school because a group of elected non-educators say so. It really doesn't matter what you taxpayers/citizens say...they have their own agenda that does NOT have students best interests at heart.
warmama November 18, 2011 at 01:10 PM
I'm sorry, but this is NOT the time to give them the resources to match their talent. This is high school,not Broadway. And the bottom line is that we cannot afford this expense at this time. They are talking about class size - more kids in classes - that can only be a detriment to our children's education. I support the arts. I know there are students that need and greatly benefit from these programs. But they can have them and benefit from them without the expense of a half million dollar sound system.
Pete Krenshaw November 18, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Don't forget how they put non-experienced administrators in place to do their bidding.
Dalia November 19, 2011 at 06:22 AM
James, I think you have an excellent point. WTHS has great talent in the arts, but unfortunately are hindered by the resources. Warmama, they do deserve these resources. Yes it's not broadway, but it's not like you can skimp on electronics of that level. It's an investment in the students future. Just like the stadium was when it was built, and the new school. Half a million dollars is pretty penny, but they deserve every bit of it. That would have been like giving the athletics department the new stadium, but leaving the athletes with the old gym equipment. Fabulous stage, but not so great resources. The arts department has gotten the short end of the stick too many times.
concerned123 November 28, 2011 at 03:01 AM
This school board under Dr. Pollack has done nothing but lead us into financial ruins. First new schools,then new teachers contract ,And lets not forget when they approve the contract when we are ready in a 1.7 million dollar operating debt and in the worst ecomony since the depression, plus they have no idea how they will pay for it. Now this. These are high school kids. Half a million for a sound system and I am sure there is an annual service contract which they are not telling us about. We all need to learn from what the residents in Neshaminy are doing. Their school board put them in 12 million in debt over stupid spending over the years. They finally voted in a board that said enough. And the residents are backing them 100 %. This is what Centennial needs, First is voting out all these morons on the board and getting in financially intelligent members. We residents need to get organized. I am sure we are all for childrens education. We just want a board that has financial responsibilty to the tax payer. they not undertand that the Tax payes comes first. They are totally clueless

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