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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.

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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