Auditorium Committee Considers Smaller Building

The Auditorium Committee is looking at an 800-seat building rather than one that seats 950 persons.

Committee chairman Tony DeFrancesco told the group at its Tuesday, May 13 meeting that Londonderry High School’s needs would be met with the smaller building.

The graphic he displayed to the committee showed the proposed smaller auditorium closer to what is now the delivery area of the high school, between the high school and the Cable Access Center, separated by the gym access road.

“Bedford has about 1,400 kids and they have an 800-seat auditorium, Pinkerton has 3,500-ish kids and they have an 850-seat auditorium, and Windham has about a 500- to 600-seat auditorium, so why are we building a 950-seat auditorium?” DeFrancesco asked.

He said committee member Pollyann Winslow, who was also on a similar committee in 2006, had told him they needed to get two classes in the auditorium.

“So you could have freshmen, sophomores or juniors and seniors,” he said, noting that he told LHS Principal Jason Parent that school district enrollment has declined since 2006. “I said to Jason, ‘You don’t have that many kids anymore’ so he said, ‘Oh yeah, we don’t.’”

With the likelihood that enrollment will remain the same for the foreseeable future, “an 800-seat auditorium meets all the needs that we’re going to have,” DeFrancesco said.

He said he has contacted the architects and asked what the 800-seat auditorium would look like. That new layout is further away from Mammoth Road and includes 70 parking spaces near the road.

Superintendent of Schools Nathan Greenberg asked about handicapped parking and where the front of the auditorium would face, and DeFrancesco said that it would face Mammoth Road. Handicapped parking would be where the new parking is located.

Music teacher Serge Beaulieu said he liked the new design, as the stage was away from Mammoth Road. In addition, the earlier design hid the entire front of the high school.

“In this location you’re going to have a panoramic of the high school – you can see the gym and almost the entire front of the school building. I think it looks great,” Beaulieu said.

Music Director Andy Soucy asked where the musicians would be located before going onstage. DeFrancesco said they would have to wait in the music rooms. He said the door at the gym side of the school would lead directly to the new auditorium’s backstage area.

Soucy said that the way it looked it was good for theater, but noted that musicians required slightly different layout.

DeFrancesco said they were planning a design that would meet some of everyone’s needs, but in addition, everyone would have to give a little.

The auditorium committee is awaiting input from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) on the location because of the signalized intersection and parking requirements.

“We can’t make any decisions until we hear back from DOT,” DeFrancesco said.

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