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DELMAR — Bethlehem Central School District expects to solicit bids later this month for its $32.2 million capital project that was approved by voters back in 2016.
Two of its most anticipated components, renovation of the high school’s Library Media Center and auditorium, are slated to begin later this year.
While the referendum will support building and site renovations, security upgrades, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing work throughout the district, approximately 53 percent of the project work will take place at the high school.
High school auditorium
The original auditorium, constructed in 1952, was identified as a high priority for capital investment. Scheduled work includes a complete renovation of the interior seating and stage areas, and the addition of air conditioning. Enhanced performance experiences will be supported by increasing the height of the “fly loft,” widening the stage proscenium, and adding a thrust stage. These stage improvements will not only accommodate larger and more complex set designs and larger music ensembles, but also provide greater visibility and flexibility for audience members and performers. The auditorium will expand into the high school lobby to allow for the addition of a theatrical control booth and an improved entry.
Library Media Center
The LMC, first constructed in 1967 and expanded in 1996, was also identified as a prime opportunity to improve the student learning experience. The work in this facility encompasses a complete renovation of the library, teaching, and support spaces, and transforming the LMC into a better learning environment. Other improvements to the space include diverse teaching and study space, central hub seating area, a makerspace, and an innovative classroom. The Information Technology Helpdesk will be relocated off the corridor and new gathering areas will be added to liven the main corridor, extending the LMC’s influence outside its walls.
Gregg Nolte, the school district’s director of facilities and operations, supervised a collaborative team that included his staff, architects, faculty and community groups to plan and design the overall project. This group has not only established a tentative timeline for construction, but preliminary plans to streamline relocation and rescheduling that will be necessary during construction as well:
Jan. to Feb. 2019:
District prepares HS Room D-122 for use as a temporary library during the LMC renovations.
April 2019 to April 2020:
High school auditorium closes for year-long renovation.
June 1 to Oct. 31:
Library Media Center closes for renovations.
District officials expect the Board of Education to award contracts by the end of February.