NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School’s (NHS) auditorium is the setting for traditional annual events. Out of commission due to renovations, the loss of the auditorium begs the question: will NHS be able to deliver the experiences seniors have come to look forward to and expect?
The auditorium had originally been scheduled for full renovation to be completed on April 1, 2015, but is now confronted with delays. The architects and O & G had at first intended to use and work off of the auditorium’s original design, meaning that it would require major structural overhauls. However, the auditorium’s construction contained major issues, and they needed to be addressed in the renovation. With that, new materials, such as the steel that had to be completely reworked, was ordered and the job’s completion was delayed. According to Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam, the auditorium will be ready in the Fall.
Some of the high school’s programs and shows have faced cancellation, while the others had to compromise.
NHS’s “Mr. Greyhound” is no longer scheduled for 2015. “It’s unfortunate that the show won’t happen and that means we won’t be able to donate to the PMC,” said Sophomore English Teacher Mrs. Dunn, who has been the initial adviser since 2005. The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is a non-profit organization that donates 100 percent of their proceeds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “I wanted to see it,” said Senior Elijah Glidden. “It would have been awesome. I would have done it.”
“Rip the Runway” adviser and marketing teacher Mr. Reilly still remains optimistic. “The kids need these things. They’re legacy events.”
Reilly had met with O & G, seeking to negotiate the auditorium meeting its safety requirements and fulfilling all necessary codes to make the building safe for people to be in it for just one night. O & G has yet to make any promises. Reilly is still very confident, intending on the event taking place within the auditorium on June 11. Traditionally, auditions and rehearsals would be held in the auditorium, but are now being relocated to the cafeteria. “Failure is not an option” he said. “We will have ‘Rip the Runway.’ Guaranteed.”
“I’m disappointed,” said Saam, “but, I understand that when you take on a project of this magnitude, it’s hard.”
And seniors have taken the loss of certain events to heart.
“It will be sad for students who won’t get a shot at it. I think in life we are always going to have disappointment, but we overcome it. I hate when kids have to lose out, but we’re trying the best we can to make things happen,” Saam said.
Seniors are still struggling to understand.
“I don’t understand why it’s not finished,” said Senior Theresa Towne. “It’s not fair because every other class before us had most of these opportunities.”
Senior Pedro Santos agreed, adding, “A lot of students have creative ideas, but they’re going to waste.”
Other events and ceremonies have been relocated, entirely. According to Saam, Honors Night will take place at City Hill Middle School. Spring concerts for NHS’ band will also take place at City Hill. Spring concerts for choir will be held at the Congregational church downtown and the Jacket Ceremony will be moved to the high school’s gymnasium.
Renovation at the high school broke ground in April 2013, but construction on the auditorium began in March 2014. The entire project was set to take 30 months and is expected to be completed by October 2015. The auditorium is anticipated to be complete before the new school year opens in September.
Unfortunately, students of 2015 must cope with the unforeseen complications that have occurred during the renovation process, but these legacy events are surely expected to carry on through the following years.
Written By Tony Lacerenza and Anthony Angiolillo