Muskie Auditorium’s importance stressed to school board

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DIXFIELD — Supporters of Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford promised Regional School Unit 10 directors Monday night that community performances will continue there.

The auditorium, which is used by the school and community, was heavily damaged by roof leaks in January and has not reopened for school use.

“This room is unique in the area,” said Bob Behren, who is active in many community performances. “The Rumford Town Hall is a beautiful room, but we can’t put a whole chorus on stage. This is not just a school facility, but a lifeblood to the arts in the community.”

Craig Zurhorst said the arts community wants to start looking for grants to upgrade the sound system and other items. Most of the auditorium’s infrastructure is original and several decades old.

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Bohren asked the school board to remember that the community needs the auditorium.

Student Ron Russell, who is active in the school’s theatrical program, said the auditorium is a home for the arts program.

The requests were made as Building and Grounds director Ken Robbins told the board that the $73,000 the district received in insurance money will likely cover the costs to repair the auditorium.

Bohren said the arts community’s plans for the annual Rumford Area Association for the Performing Arts program will go on during the holiday season as planned.

The auditorium also hosted professional musicians, concerts from other other schools and the annual Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs sponsored by local police departments.

In other matters Monday, Superintendent Craig King distributed a timeline for the 2015-16 budget, including dates for public hearings and tentative voting dates.

He said the board will begin developing the budget in January.

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