On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Cortland educational community turned out at the polls to support the renovation of the auditorium. Located at the Junior Senior High School, it’s the only auditorium we have in the district; all seven schools share it. The $6.5 million capital project was approved 386 to 109. The 1964 auditorium has been relatively untouched since it was constructed and is in need of safety upgrades and significant modernization. Almost all of the project (88%) will be funded by the state, and the Board of Education has saved enough in the Capital Reserve Account to cover the other 12% without having to raise taxes.
Now that the community has endorsed the project, architects from King & King will work with District staff to develop detailed plans which have to be submitted to the State Education Department for approval. Unfortunately, the wait for project review and approval is very long, so it could be until January of 2019 when the project can be put out to bid. Construction could then commence. There will be a period of time, as long as a year, when the auditorium is unavailable for use and alternate locations will host our concerts and theatrical events. In the long run, however, it will be well worth it.
As plans progress, updates will be posted at this page.
There are energy efficiency needs. The exterior entrances are in need of repair and the lights over the stage are obsolete and therefore generate too much heat. The lights are incredibly inefficient and LED lights that are easier to operate and much more energy efficient are needed.
There are modernization needs, too. The accessibility for people in wheelchairs and with limited mobility is inadequate and not up to ADA standards. The seats are original and need some attention. The light and sound booth ventilation and cooling system is inadequate for the demands of a busy auditorium.
These concerns, and others, have led to the capital project proposal the Board of Education will present to the community on December 13. The music and theater staff have been involved in the process of identifying the needs, as well as community organizations that use the space.