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Revisiting the Sharon Springs School District Auditorium

Revisiting a graduation venue and a vintage Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. project.

Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. designed a new auditorium for Sharon Springs Central School District in 1999. This room which seats 350 has been used for a variety of purposes over its 25 year history. The auditorium combined with the adjacent shops spaces, music rooms and locker rooms (which are used for dressing rooms) becomes a performance center for the annual school play. This space also serves as a venue for large Board of Education meetings and information presentations for proposed capital projects. The room is used throughout the year by the school for group meetings, music / choral instruction, and school wide assemblies. At the end of the school year, the space is perfect for graduation. The auditorium is used in the summer for a variety of programs and has even been used for movie presentations.

Years ago, before the positive vote to build the space, questions were raised as to how much the District would use an auditorium, based on all of the above, time has proven that this space is used quite regularly and has become a vital part of the District and community. The choice to create the space using very durable materials and ensuring diligent upkeep of the District’s Maintenance Department have kept the space in excellent condition. However, as it is now a quarter of a century old, the District decided that it is time to look at some modern upgrades to the infrastructure.

Working closely with our office, the District decided to dedicate a significant part of their annual Capital Outlay Project to improvements to the existing sound system in the auditorium. The District and TKF met recently with Smith Site Development and Smith’s communications/sound sub-contractor to review the existing systems and propose upgrades to the existing equipment. We were all delighted to discover that the core elements of the system such as the amplifiers and speaker units are in great condition and can be retained. Enhancements will be made to make the system more user-friendly.

We met with the District Administration who reviewed the recently completed school play. The production was a great success, however, they were somewhat restricted by the existing sound system. The system currently accommodates 8 wireless microphones, but the recent production has 9 leads. The proposed expansion to 16 wireless mics will be a great enhancement.

Another major improvement will be to the assisted listening system which has seen great technological improvements in the last 25 years. By implementing Bluetooth access and the ability to connect to individual hearing aids, etc. community members, students, and staff will be able to have a more comfortable, enjoyable experience. The bulky, old, equipment for the hearing impaired is being replaced with a modern interface that will connect directly to hearing aids and other personal devices, resulting in a more comfortable, enjoyable experience.

One major consideration for this work is that it cannot interfere with the commencement exercises that will be happening in June. We have worked closely with the District to schedule the work, making sure that the room is available and fully functional when needed. As always, it is a great pleasure to be able to assist Sharon Springs, but even more so to see that this space, designed so long ago, continues to serve them well, and with the proposed improvements will continue to do so for years to come.

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