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The Newhall Auditorium will become a venue for learning again if voters approve a bond measure in November. Photo by Patti Rasmussen.

Photo: Patti Rasmussen

[KHTS] – The Newhall School District is nearing the final planning stages for the Newhall Elementary School auditorium refurbishment, according to a statement provided by the City of Santa Clarita.

The renovation of Newhall Elementary School’s auditorium is expected to renew an integral piece of Newhall’s heritage in Newhall’s Arts and Entertainment District by acting as a dynamic venue for students of the district and community performances.

“We wanted to open a facility not just to cater solely to the students of the district, but also to enter into a relationship with the Santa Clarita community as an arts facility,” said Dr. Marc Winger, superintendent of the Newhall School District.

Since 1994, restoration for the Newhall Elementary School’s auditorium facility had been sought since it was primarily utilized as a storage facility for district supplies.

Action was taken when non-profit organization, the Theatre Arts For Children Foundation, took the initiative to raise funds for the restoration project through producing the SCV Country Fair. The SCV Country Fair accomplished its aim and the restoration endeavor initiated for the Newhall Elementary School District facility.

“Through the generous support of both the City of Santa Clarita and the State of California, grants were allocated to The Theatre Arts For Children foundation to begin the restoration of the building,” according to a statement provided by the City of Santa Clarita.

Fiscal challenges arose when eliminating hazardous materials from the facility and installing necessary equipment to meet with the American with Disabilities requirements over exceeded the estimated budget for the project.

“Since the auditorium is a very old building, we have to redesign the whole interior to keep it up to standard,” said Winger. “It was difficult raising money for all those costs, including making sure the building has disabled access and other refurbishments.”

The Newhall School District passed the Measure E bond, and is expected to give a portion of the bond to fund the Newhall Elementary School auditorium. The Measure E bond has allowed the renovation project to continue in to its final stages.

“We are still slightly underfunded with a deficit of $744,000,” said Christy Smith, Newhall School District governing board member. “We are seeking community support or grants or other sources to assist with raising the funds.”

According to Winger, the Division of the State Architect (DSA) must approve and certify the construction phase as it is mandated the DSA oversees all construction from K-12 schools.

“Receiving the approval can take several months, so the construction phase for the renovation project for the auditorium should happen around a year from now in late 2014,” said Winger.

Being Newhall’s oldest site, the implementation of this facility should serve as a marker of Newhall’s extensive heritage.

“The auditorium is Newhall’s oldest site, so to preserve this wonderful facility would preserve part of Newhall’s beautiful history. The auditorium has so much potential,” said Smith.

 

– Luzzei Tsuji

 

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