Under Construction: Million dollar auditorium nearing grand opening

By Gabe Berlean, Chief Photographer

Fairmont’s newest addition is said to be complete in January of 2019, with the first performances happening in February 2019.The project is an $11 million renovation. The money is being generated through the Permanent Improvement Levy that passed in 2016. When this levy was on the ballot, the community knew that an updated auditorium would happen if the levy passed.

According to Ken Lackey, Director of Business Services, the old auditorium was still basically the same as it had been in 1958. It had received only minor upgrades (air conditioning in 1995 and seats were renovated in 2001) in recent years.

Over the years the band, orchestra, choir and performing arts programs have grown to over 700 students and the old auditorium was very limited in size for both performers and audiences.
The lack of fly space limited the type of productions that could be held. The new auditorium will be much better suited to match the rest of the facilities at Fairmont and the needs of Kettering’s programs.

Shook Touchstone is the construction manager for the project. Fairmont senior Jaeden Crowe is working with this company as well.

“This is an exciting project that will change the look of Fairmont High School on Shroyer Road,” Lackey said. “It will be a great space for all of our school events and a community resource.”

This new structure will benefit countless Fairmont students, staff and even community members.

A facility like this is used for theatre and musical purposes, but also for community events and staff and district-wide meetings.

English teacher, Theatre Director and IB Director Darren McGarvey is excited to see the renovations finally happen.

“I think the auditorium was about 10 years overdue on renovations,” he said.

McGarvey hopes that this newly remodeled auditorium will help get more students involved in the music and performing arts programs.

“We have been competing with Centerville’s performing arts programs for about six to seven years.This auditorium can put us on the top,” McGarvey said.

Certainly some of the old equiptment and flare will be missed from the somewhat retro auditorium.

Junior Talia Meade who is involved with the performing arts at Fairmont has fond memories in the old facility.

“I will miss the upper balcony for spotlights,” said Meade.

Even though some equipment will be missed, a lot of new equipment will be added including a green room, updated sound equipment, more storage space and a more updated and larger booth for audio and lighting.

With the auditorium being 19,200 square feet, there will be a lot of room and added space in comparison to the old auditorium. The stage will be less accessible by audience members, giving the staff using the new building plenty of private space to prepare and perform.

The new facility will seat just over 900 people, which is 200 more than the old auditorium.

This auditorium could bring in bigger audiences, encourage more students at Fairmont to get involved, while also providing space for other clubs and events as well as staff meetings and district events scheduled at Fairmont.

McGarvey envisions a lot of possibilities coming from this new addition and is eager to hit the ground running.

“I think the new space is going to allow us to explore new ways to perform and entertain audiences. I have the feeling that a lot of good things are going to start happening once the space opens,” McGarvey said.