By Patti Rasmussen
A campaign kick-off is scheduled for Thursday, September 8, for a $60 million bond initiative in the Newhall School District. Bond money, if approved in November, will extend the district’s current bond without raising taxes and will be used for a variety of infrastructure upgrades including technology, science labs, classroom repairs, and the restoration of the Newhall Auditorium.
The school district conducted a survey of registered voters and community leaders and determined a strong support for this measure. Superintendent Marc Winger stated the bond is the cost prudent way to compete the next level of essential school facility upgrades needed in neighborhood schools.
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“This is good for our schools, but it’s also good for property owners. We are proud of our high performing and well-maintained schools and we want to keep the facilities up with the demands of a modern and balanced instructional program,” Winger said. “Our success in this bond extension effort and the quality of our schools will continue to contribute to high property values in the district.”
The campaign committee, co-chaired by board members Christy Smith and Mike Shapiro, will host an Open House inside the Newhall Auditorium. For many in the community, this will be their first opportunity to see this historic building.
Completed in 1941, the Newhall Auditorium was funded by the WPA (Works Project Administration) and used, not only for the elementary students, but the community as well. Designed in the art deco fashion popular at the time, the building consists of an elevated stage and enough room to seat over 400 people.
An upstairs projection room and film vault once held a collection of movies enjoyed by residents over the years. Thick concrete walls, a charming ticket booth and floor lighting completed the theater.
In the early 70s, the Newhall District began using the auditorium for classroom space as the population of the area increased. After successfully opening several new schools, the auditorium was closed to students and converted into warehouse space in the 1980s. Several attempts by community groups to restore the facility were attempted over the years. The million-dollar price tag was a large undertaking and recently the space has been leased to the Canyon Theatre Guild for rehearsals and storage.
Smith and Shapiro said the auditorium has always held a special place in their hearts. Students have been denied access to this space long enough and it’s time to open the doors and allow theater arts to once again take center stage in public education, Shapiro said.
Smith emphasized the bond will help with critical upgrades at all ten schools within the Newhall District by replacing deteriorated roofs, lighting and electrical systems, improving energy efficiency and replacing aging portables with permanent classrooms.
The Campaign Kick-Off Open House will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. inside the auditorium and residents will receive information on all upgrades and repairs included in the bond measure. The event is sponsored by Citizens for Newhall School District with support from the CTG and Lundgren Management.
Campaign questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.