- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The audience could soon receive a seating upgrade in the auditorium at Central High School.

District staff presented a plan to the Board of Education last week to install new seats in the theater that hosts plays, concerts and other events.

Chris Silcott, director of operations for the St. Joseph School District, said he believes the seat frames are the originals that were installed when the school was constructed in 1930. The district reupholstered the seats in the 1980s, but Mr. Silcott proposed a complete replacement this time around.

“The last several years we spent a lot of time repairing the seats, and because the seats are so old, there are no parts available for them,” Mr. Silcott said. “That means we cannibalize them. That’s a good term. We remove seats to repair existing seats.”

At last week’s board meeting, the seats also were discussed as a potential safety issue. At least one seat in the back row currently does not have a back, while another near the front is taped-off to warn audience members against sitting.

The project would spend roughly $208,000 to replace more than 1,200 seats. The price tag for the 656-seat lower level would run at $116,383, with the bill to replace 561 seats on the balcony totaling $91,467.

The school board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the project in August.

If the work is approved, the work likely would not begin on-site until 2016.

“It’s about a four month lead time to get the seats made, then we’ll work with the Central staff in the spring, hopefully, to replace them,” Mr. Silcott said. “It will take about six weeks to remove the old seats and install the new.”

Preliminary discussions have begun to hold fundraisers involving alumni, boosters or parents to pay a portion of the costs.


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