ST. GEORGE – Despite a year-long auditorium remodel, the stage floor at Pine View High School is in such bad shape that it can’t be used for the traditional fall musical, a parent told the Board of Education for the Washington County School District Tuesday.
This could be the second year without a fall musical at the high school. While the auditorium remodel was thought to be complete, the theater equipment failed to pass a safety inspection, and the stage floor is in desperate need of repair.
Chris Sewell is the parent of two Pine View students, a senior and a freshman. Accompanied by several students, Sewell asked the Board of Education for help.
“It’s two years now that the theater’s dark with no fall musical. Now that hurts us deeply because my son’s a senior, at the end of his journey as far as the dramatic arts,” Sewell told the board.
“They got new seats, new carpet, new sound system, new lighting. I mean all of that was outdated. They got all of that fixed,” Sewell said. “And then they went in for the safety inspection, and they discovered the fly system, which had the curtains go up and down, is unsafe. The pulleys are unsafe. I mean it’s like thirty years old. I don’t know why anybody thought it would pass inspection.”
Funding was approved for the theater equipment, and the repairs are expected to be finished in December; however, the stage floor was somehow overlooked in the remodeling process.
“I don’t think anybody knows (why),” Sewell said. “That’s the mystery of the universe. I just assumed it was going to be fixed.”
The floor has taken an incredible amount of abuse, Sewell said, and now has grooves, ridges and water damage. Additionally, the electronics in the floor don’t work and have been covered by paint, she said.
“The floor is not passable without shoes now,” Sewell said.
Board member Craig Seegmiller said arrangements have been made to fix the theater equipment.
“As soon as we discovered it, we put out bids and contracts to see what we can do, and that’s now in process,” Seegmiller said. “If all goes well, it will all be replaced by December.”
However, the board did not know the floor of the stage also needed to be replaced until Sewell brought it to their attention.
“But it’s really unfortunate,” Seegmiller said. “Especially for those seniors to maybe have a senior fall play experience, rather than just write it off.”
Seegmiller said he hoped there may be an alternative to cancelling the show completely.
“Maybe we can salvage something,” he said.
In the meantime, the Washington County School District has hired a company from Oregon to complete the work on the theater equipment. When the district was getting ready to remodel, the company that normally does the work reported that “everything looked good.”
However, a district employee told the board they had another company look at it as well.
“(They) took a lot of pictures and said ‘Wow, this is unsafe. You cannot put people back in here,’ so we’ve been going full bore on it.”
In other business, school enrollment is up substantially this year – about 1,260 more students are enrolled than October 2015.
“That’s as steep a growth as we’ve had for some time in the district,” School District Superintendent Larry Bergeson said. “As we continue to grow it creates a lot of challenges not just in buildings but as we staff, and we have those high of numbers trying to then keep class sizes where we would like them.”
The Water Canyon School in Hildale has more than 500 students, double the number the district expected by now, Bergeson said.
“We’re already almost running out of room already,” Bergeson said.
The Water Canyon School, formerly Phelps Elementary School, celebrated its first high school graduation in May 2015 after sitting empty for 13 years.
Phelps Elementary was closed by the Washington County School District in 2001 after Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ordered his followers to pull their children out of the school in 2000, which caused enrollment to drop severely.
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