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Williamstown Middle/High School getting an auditorium

A City of Williamstown crew works to install a water line for fire protection on Sept. 4 outside the new addition to Williamstown Middle/High School. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

WILLIAMSTOWN — The new auditorium at Williamstown Middle/High School is expected to be music to the ears of students, teachers and audiences.

“We’ve never had an auditorium here before,” Principal Jason Ward said. “We had to use an old gym that had a little stage in it.”

The auditorium, which is still under construction because of delays related to the insulation of power lines and relocation of a utility pole, will seat about 400 people and provide the setting and acoustics “where our music and theater programs can come to life,” Ward said.

Attending Blennerhassett Elementary/Middle School and Parkersburg South High School, Williamstown band director Jed Corra was used to having spacious auditoriums as a student.

“I didn’t even know that schools didn’t have auditoriums,” he said. “Gyms are just not made, acoustically, for concerts. It just doesn’t sound as good as it could.”

Yellowjacket flags decorate the parking lot at Williamstown Middle/High School. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Ashley Clark, who directs the Williamstown/Waverly Strings Program and directed the choral program for five years, said she tended to select other venues for student performances.

“I often ended up taking our ensembles off-site for concerts at local churches, or at the Peoples Bank Theatre,” she said.

The bleachers in the gym weren’t ideal for some spectators to navigate, Clark said. Keeping the blowers on could drown out the music, but turning them off resulted in a hot and humid atmosphere.

While the gym teachers were cooperative, Corra said he’ll be glad not to have to take up their space and coordinate with them. Plus, the band room is much closer to the new auditorium than the gym.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for all the music students here at Williamstown,” Corra said.

“I am thrilled that our young people will now be able to experience the pride of walking onto the stage in their own auditorium, the enjoyment of performing in a space designed to maximize the acoustic experience, and the ability to provide a comfortable environment for the audience,” Clark said. “I believe this addition will give Williamstown students and community members a renewed sense of pride in our WHS fine arts programs.”

Staff Reporter Brett Dunlap contributed to this story.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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