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Board replaces auditorium equipment

Mary Washington

St. Mary’s public school board member Mary Washington

The school system will spend over a million dollars to improve the lights and audio inside all three high school auditoriums.

Paola Laino, the school system’s director of design and construction, told the school board on Wednesday that the project will cost $1,471,847 and a construction contingency costing $74,421 for the theatrical lighting and audiovisual system replacement. The construction is expected to start in June and completed by the end of the summer.

The current conditions of the equipment required replacing the audio, video, lighting and rigging. Naggena Ohri, student board member, recalled being in Chopticon High’s auditorium for the Rhythm 2020 program she helped produce and having trouble with the equipment.

Purchases of new equipment include an audio amplification and mixer, video screen, projector and control, LED house lights, theatrical LED fixtures and control, LED moving lights and the replacement or addition of rigging. Laino said the cost of rigging and LED lights will be covered by utility savings from the fiscal 2020 budget.

The chosen contractor, Excel Lighting Services, has 14 years experience in entertainment lighting and rigging and has worked with institutions like the Baltimore School for the Arts, France-Merrick Performing Art Center, Sinai Hospital and the Walters Art Museum.

“It’s a good choice for us,” Laino said.

Board member Mary Washington said some contractors have been using less workers because of social distancing and asked if that would be the case with Excel.

Laino said construction is considered essential work and ensured the work will be done before the start of next school year, a date that has not yet been determined.

A 54-page draft of Maryland public school’s recovery plan details what the future school might look like. One of the assumptions is that large school assemblies might not be possible. Class sizes could be reduced and desks could be 6 feet apart.

“Special areas such as art, health and physical education may be offered remotely via video chat along with parent/teacher conferences, discipline conferences, 504, and IEP meetings,” the document stated.

St. Mary’s schools already dealt with school changes when they planned an adjusted graduation ceremony. Seniors are now scheduled to be at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center in Leonardtown next week starting with Great Mills on May 26, Chopticon on May 27, and Leonardtown on May 28.

The school board also approved a floor abatement at Green Holly Elementary School for $45,120 and a $6,400 construction contingency.

Twitter: @KristenEntNews

Twitter: @KristenEntNews

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