NEWINGTON - A $1 million plan to give Newington High School’s music program, amongst other components, instrument storage space, an expansion of band and choral rooms, the addition of faculty offices, and even air conditioning for the auditorium, has been given the green light by the Town Council.
There are 125 students in the high school’s band program and 85 in the chorus.
The project is the third phase of $5 million in ADA compliance and PCB abatement work that has included sidewalk replacement, the widening of doorways for better handicapped accessibility and the redesigning of wheelchair ramps with landings at halfway points.
“The reason the whole thing started was ADA compliance,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Collins. “Luckily we had kept up and didn’t have to do that big a project. They give you a lot of time to do it, so we’ve been chipping away at it.”
The current phase has included making the auditorium and lighting area handicapped accessible, and removing PCB material found underneath the stage last year. Two music rooms were also altered to comply with ADA regulations, and storage space was lost in the process. This next move is being made to fix that, Collins said.
“The only way to get it back is to build a small storage room in the music room,” Collins said. “We figured while we’re there, why not take care of air conditioning in the storage closet for the issue of the instruments?”
Concert goers will probably appreciate the added air conditioning for the auditorium at large too, he said.
“The constant complaint is when people go to musicals, it’s so hot in the auditorium,” Collins said.
Phase 4, which is still a couple of years away, will involve the reconfiguration of at least one classroom doorway for every program area in order to equip it with automatic doors-something Collins says he has been cautious about moving ahead with too quickly.
“I want to make sure we’re not fixing one problem and creating an issue of security,” he said.