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.