DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

October 31, 2013

Auditorium plan comes up again at meeting

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — It’s not at the top of the town’s priority list for spending money, but it’s something that could help boost the school district when accreditation time comes around.

The discussion over building an auditorium or performance center at the high school continues, but the proposed multi-million-dollar project isn’t on the top of any list at the moment.

A committee still meets regularly to talk about the possibility of bringing a performing space to the high school.

The proposed $16 million- to $17 million plan could bring a 950-seat space to the high school. It would be used mostly for school and community events. It would be too small to handle graduation, but would serve the school and add to its value, especially when accreditation time rolls around.

Right now, officials say that price tag is too big.

“And $16 million won’t fly,” superintendent Nathan Greenberg said at last week’s School Board meeting.

Having no state building aid to support the project is another drawback.

“With no building aid, you can cross that one right off the list,” Greenberg said.

When accreditation teams come to Londonderry, it’s always the lack of a performance space that makes the deficiency list.

“It’s a ‘black eye’ on the evaluation at the school,” district business administrator Peter Curro said.

But the talks continue and most agree an auditorium would suit the town well, but more definite plans are needed.

Many wonder what the purpose would be, just school district use, or would it be offered for rental space to the community or visiting entertainers and performances.

School Board members say they just need more details before bringing the auditorium subject up again.

“I have no information,” Steve Young said.

He said accreditation teams did specify an auditorium would boost Londonderry High School in terms of what it offers and what it lacks.

Young also said there have been many changes since the plan first came around many years ago.

“There’s just not enough information yet,” he said. “We’ve got to let the committee go through the process and educate me, at least.”

For Greenberg, it’s also about the price tag.

“We have to be cognizant of what the economy is,” he said.