Red Hook had been the only school district in the Hudson Valley and one of only a few in New York State without an auditorium to accommodate theatrical productions, band and chorus concerts, lectures, assemblies, graduations and community events.
Historically, cafeterias and a gymnasium with inadequate seating have been utilized as makeshift spaces for large group events. That meant that gym classes and sports teams needing to train had 20% less access to the gym than teams they compete against. Meanwhile, our band, chorus and theater groups were required to host their artistic performances in the school gymnasium or outside venues with many rehearsals taking place in corridors, classrooms and elsewhere.
But that’s about to change!
The new auditorium design is truly multi-purpose, with flexible space options to accommodate a broad base of school and community needs. The flexible configuration allows for both large-scale seated performances, small group meeting areas, as well as additional classroom and workshop spaces.
The auditorium will be connected to the front of the high school with an open flow for students during school hours that can then be closed off with a separate entrance for public events in the evening. Locating the Auditorium at the high school has many advantages – including easy access for out of town guests and adequate parking – a big cost saving for a project of this scale.
In addition to providing a space that matches the high caliber of local performances and activities, there are many additional benefits that the auditorium will offer the students and citizens of Red Hook. It will:
- Improve educational programming (band/chorus/dance/digital media/technology offerings)
- Increase access to current gymnasium for sports programs by 20%
- Enhance extracurricular opportunities (science/social studies/math/debate groups)
- Provide additional exhibition spaces (showcase student and community artists)
- Encourage greater attendance at civic activities (political debates/citizenship classes)
- Offer meeting space to community groups (volunteer organizations/job fairs)
The district has worked hard to secure millions of dollars in NY State aid and they have kept the budget limited. The cost of the project is low:approximately $2.50 per month for the median priced home with basic STAR. The Red Hook Education Foundation has raised additional funds and worked closely with local public officials to offset costs.