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NMS Launches Fundraising Appeal To Replace Aging Auditorium Seats



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NMS Launches Fundraising Appeal To Replace Aging Auditorium Seats

By Laurie Borst

In 1970, Airport was a big hit in the movies, Erich Segal penned Love Story, Mungo Jerry was singing “In the Summertime,” and Newtown Middle School got new seats in its auditorium.

Thirty-seven years later, time has taken its toll. Movies, songs, and books have become dated. Auditorium seats show the wear of four decades of students’ use.

As of January 26, there were 20 broken seats that have been replaced with hard plastic chairs. Many other seats show signs of the wood laminate splitting and peeling on the seats and backs. A number of the lecture-style, flip up desktops are broken or missing entirely.

With Newtown facing a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) around $100 million, NMS Principal Diane Sherlock realizes the many demands on the taxpayers. The current CIP includes the middle school roof, which is in need of replacement. It is slated for work in 2010-2011. The HVAC system is also in need of work, along with the systems at the four elementary schools.

“There are too many things for the town to pay for,” Mrs Sherlock stated. “We understand the needs of the other schools.”

Mrs Sherlock’s main concern is safety. Seats are breaking while students are sitting in them.

The auditorium is used on a daily basis, she explained. “It is used multiple times a day. It’s a supervised area before and after school. It is used for concerts, assemblies, cultural arts.”

The current auditorium can seat just under 400 students. With more than 400 students each in grades seven and eight, there is no place in the school for a full grade level to meet. Next year, the middle school anticipates enrollment increasing by 46 students.

With all the various concerns in mind, NMS has turned to fundraising to replace the seats in the auditorium. In early December, the first pass at fundraising occurred. Families with children attending the middle school were asked for donations.

Sixth grade families at Reed Intermediate School received the same request as those students will be attending the middle school next year. This resulted in $11,000 being raised. The goal is $80,000. 

At this point, the administration is turning to the town for help. In a project similar to the Edmond Town Hall seats, NMS is soliciting donations. Seats cost $200 each. For a donation in that amount, an engraved plaque will be placed on the seat. But, any and all donations are appreciated.

Mrs Sherlock has down her homework. In the future, when the auditorium is renovated, the new seats will be able to be used again, removing them when renovation begins and replacing when finished.

“We would like to finish the fundraising this spring so new seats can be purchased and installed for the start of the year in the fall,” Mrs Sherlock said.

For more information, contact Diane Sherlock at 426-7642.

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