Bonner school board approves potential BSHS theater upgrades
After 25 years of minimal upgrades for the Bonner Springs High School theater, the USD 204 Board of Education is looking at spending up to an estimated $677,000 to renovate the theater this summer.
The board Monday selected several options for theater upgrades presented by HTK Architects and directed the firm to send out a request for proposals to perform the renovation. It is a move that has been a long time coming for the auditorium, which was part of the original building constructed in 1964.
‘You know they say the marching band is the pride of Wyandotte County?” Patricia Welicky, board member, remarked to the board during the meeting. “Our auditorium is not the pride of Wyandotte County. It’s embarrassing.”
The board reviewed several options previously presented by HTK at its Oct. 6 meeting, going through to choose what upgrades they wanted to support immediately, what might be delayed and what wasn’t needed.
The board did not support an option to add an ADA accessible ramp from the seating area to the stage inside the theater, because the state is ADA accessible from the hallway and the ramp would take away too much seating from the theater.
The board supported the following:
• Overall upgrades including replacing carpet tile at aisles, reupholstering and refinish theater seats (with a request for a comparable option in the bid package for new seating), replacing and upgrading additional stage curtains, replacing acoustical ceiling tile and grid, and repainting
• Build vestibule entrances that will facilitate light blocking
• Mechanical and electrical modifications to accommodate upgrade to current systems
• Upgraded ceiling design, installing a combination of ceiling clouds and drywall soffits for improved acoustics and an upgraded appearance
• Additional storage for miscellaneous theater equipment next to light and sound control booths at back of the theater.
• Raised concrete slab installation for a stage height of 42 inches (from its current height of 60 inches) for safety and visibility issues. The board opted for an estimated $35,000 option that would go up to the third seat row, rather than a more gradual $39,000 option that would go back several more rows.
• Rewire the sound system and purchase all new hardware and miscellaneous equipment.
• Install automatic projection screen.
The total estimated cost of the above options is $527,581.
After learning from the architects that school staff thought the lighting system might last a few more years, the board opted to request an alternate upgrade in the bid to replace the stage lighting, upgrading it to energy-efficient LED lights and installing new controls. The option is estimated at $150,000.
Of course, the total amount to be spent was a concern for the board. Board member Olleia Jarrett asked if the board could put a cap on how much was to be spent for the auditorium, while Board President Tim McGinnis said he wanted to update the theater but wanted to make sure the district still had some funds for safety improvements to the athletic complex that he thinks are necessary.
Superintendent Dan Brungardt noted that the renovation was made possible in part by the capital project planning that the board has put in place.
Last year, the board implemented a plan for capital purchases to maximize budget efficiency. The board has budgeted various updates, including buses, roofs, HVAC units, and vehicles, for the next 20 years.
“This allows the district to set aside funds yearly for these upgrades to facilitate the continuous maintenance of district property,” Brungardt said after the meeting.
And the district has saved money up — it currently has about $5.5 million in its capital outlay fund. Eric Hansen, business and human resources director, told the board that even if the district spends the same amount of capital outlay funds it did last year and installs the new gymnasium floor at Bonner Springs Elementary as planned, it will still have about $2.7 million left to spend.
In addition to the theater and BSE gym, the board has asked HTK Architects to create a multi-year plan to reconfigure and upgrade its sports complex west of the high and middle schools.
HTK representatives said they met with district athletic coaches last week and now feel they can begin to develop some different concepts to present to the board and get estimated prices for each component.
Once the concepts are presented to the board, the board will prioritize different projects to help create a master plan.