YHS auditorium project coming along

The current phase of remodeling the Yuma High School auditorium is coming along on schedule.

The first phase addressed electrical needs, as well as new lighting and sound system. That was completed this past year, at a total cost of $586,000. It is thought the lighting and sound had not been updated since the 1980s.

The current phase involves new seating, flooring and paint. The old seating was removed starting late last month. Crews currently are wrapping up the painting. Work will begin on the concrete floor on Monday. Holes will be patched, then the floor will be grinded down and sealed with an epoxy.

New chairs will be installed after that. There will be less seating than in the past with 481 chairs in the auditorium. However, the spacing between the rows will be significantly improved with more room to maneuver and walk through.

There will be five ADA transfer arms to help with handicap accessibility, along with 20 gathering chairs upfront by the stage area accessibility. There also will be chairs by those spots for a companion to sit by those in a wheelchair. Chad Rayl with CMR Management & Consulting, who is assisting the school district with the project, noted that the chairs on made in the United States.

Once the seating is done, the new carpet will be installed.

Yuma-1 Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said the school district has $300,000 budgeted for this phase, but it looks like it will be closer to $200,000.

She explained that the whole auditorium project through the district’s General Fund, thanks to strategic budgeting. No bonds or other sources are being used. The auditorium and some upgrades to The Pit were not included in the BEST Grant that paid for half of the $32 million expansion/renovation project because the district was advised it’s chances for the grant were stronger without those included.

A final phase for the auditorium will be the addition of a portable stage extension. There is not a timeline yet on that phase.