Progress continues on the upgrades to the Chadron High School auditorium. New theater-style seats were installed in January, increasing the facility’s capacity by 15.
The original 1968 seats were torn out in December and concrete repairs were made during the Christmas break. It was expected the project would increase seating, but only by about six, and the addition of 15 was a nice surprise, said Principal Jerry Mack.
In addition, the upgrade added handicapped seating and a section on rails directly in front of the stage. The section on rails will be movable, allowing for the creation of an orchestra pit during performances, while preserving seating capacity.
Much of the project was made possible through funding from the Chadron Public Schools Foundation, which donated $50,000 toward the seating upgrades. Other fundraising has generated an additional $12,000-13,000.
The old, plastic chairs were uncomfortable, many of them were broken and the addition of handicapped accessibility were important factors in the Foundation’s decision to fund the project, said Foundation Treasurer Russell Harford last year when the board approved the expenditure.
Staff and students have also worked to paint the auditorium, and new carpet is expected to be installed in the aisles. Old sound tiles that were no longer serving their purpose were also removed, said Mack. Sound tests will determine if they need to be replaced in the future.
The seating upgrade is just one in a long line of projects planned for the auditorium. The auditorium’s lighting and sound systems both need improvements, and fundraising for those efforts is ongoing.