EDITORíS DESK: Auditorium opening: Sweet music
As the curtain was being pulled back for the first performing group at the Coronado High School auditorium's grand opening Sept. 27, a symbolic curtain was being
pulled the other way - over the painful saga of what went into creating the bloomin' thing.
We can laugh about it now - look how many guffaws Principal Susan Humphrey and Assistant Principal David Engstrom extracted from the topic at the opening - but there weren't a whole lot of yuks while it was going on. School officials had thought the hard part would be passing the bond issue. It was bad enough, requiring two elections (in '04 and '05) because of a wording glitch the first time. And, a new $1.4 million Coronado auditorium was just one of 600 district bond projects, so it wasn't until some months later that the sharp pencils came out and the first big problem surfaced: The cost had been badly underestimated . Of course, this wasn't good, but the thinking was, back in late 2006, that for about $3 million Coronado might not have a new auditorium but could have a wonderfully renovated old one. The money could be found from other bond projects that were coming in under budget.
So everything was fine... until the district started working with the contractor on actual building plans, and next thing everyone knew, what with inflation and all, the cost had risen to $3.9 million. Still OK though, still on track. The Class of '08 was excited about having the upgraded facility by Christmas '07. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Hollow cement blocks were discovered - contrary to actual building plans - in the original exterior walls, meaning they had to be torn down. And so, to all intents and purposes, the project had gone from new to renovation and back to new again. And oh by the way, the final cost was hovering at right around $5 million.
But did anybody really care Sept. 27? When Engstrom told everyone "Welcome," there was spontaneous and enthusiastic applause. The kids performed great all night, but that audience response, for those who'd suffered through the project, had to be the sweetest music of all.