City Council recently approved more renovations at the Lenoir High School Auditorium. The improvements will help the City rebrand the venue as The Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School and bring more events into Downtown Lenoir.
Council approved the first round of improvements in January this year. Phase one included gutting and rebuilding two bathrooms on the lower floor of the facility. The new bathrooms will only be used during events at the auditorium. Phase one also included installing and painting six new doors, sanding and refinishing the stage floor, and replacing some of the stage curtains. The budget for phase one was $86,384, which was funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money.
During the Dec. 7, 2021, meeting, Council approved a second round of renovations, which will also be funded with CDBG money. Phase two includes painting the walls and ceiling of the entry and main lobby area, repairing the roof over the entry lobby, painting the stage walls, replacing the HVAC units, and switching the existing lighting in the auditorium to LED. Workers will also replace the carpet in the lobby and install new roof gutters on the auditorium building. The budget for phase two is $105,219.
"We've made a lot of progress this year at the Lenoir High School (LHS)," Parks and Recreation Director Kenny Story said. "Contractors completed a lot of work from phase one, and members of Foothills Performing Arts (FPA) put in hundreds of hours cleaning and helping get the venue ready for events. We really appreciate that."
Last year, FPA decided to move their performances from the local civic center to LHS. FPA performed just one show at the LHS auditorium in early 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted shut downs across the nation. FPA members didn't fret. They took the time to move their supplies and props to LHS and help Parks and Recreation staff clean up and prep the theater for a reopening event this fall.
FPA Board Member Patrick Longano said the theater group is happy about their new venue.
"We're really excited about the new location," Longano said. "When people come to one of our shows, we hope they'll decide to do more in Lenoir ... a 'plus one.' Come to a show and then have dinner at a downtown restaurant or stop by one of our cool local stores. That's what this is all about - building up the community and providing fun things to do for people."
FPA kicked off the holidays this past Friday night with six, free Christmas shows. Dubbed "Christmas on the Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School," the show features Junie B. in Jingle Bells Batman Smells!, The Story of Christmas performed by the Campus Christmas Choir, and musical performances. Tickets may still be available for showings this Friday Dec. 17, Saturday Dec. 18, and Sunday Dec. 19. Visit www.showpass.com/christmas-on-the-campus to register for free tickets.
In addition to FPA, the Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School also hosts various meetings, summer camps, local concerts, recitals, pageants, and more.
Precision Contracting Company (PCC) was the low bidder for the phase one and phase two improvements. PCC will start on phase two work on or before Jan. 3, 2022, and should be finished by May 30, 2022.
FPA staff decorated the Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School in preparation for their Christmas show.
Mayor Joe Gibbons, left, and wife Becky, center, talk with an FPA member before the show Friday night, Dec. 10, 2021.
Santa talks with children before the Christmas on the Campus show Friday night, Dec. 10, at LHS.
The Campus Christmas Choir gets ready to perform the Story of Christmas Friday night, Dec. 10, at the Christmas on the Campus show.
Renovations to the bathrooms at LHS were completed earlier this year.