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Girard places auditorium project on hold

GIRARD — The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed plans for a performing arts center at the Girard High / Middle School complex off Shannon Road.

The board of education at its meeting this month said that the pandemic resulted in reduced state funding for the project.

“We have to wait and see what the state is doing with district finances,” board President Mark Zuppo said. “There is a lot of uncertainty for school districts for what is ahead. No one is sure what the next school year will be like.”

He said the project still will be done at a later date.

Plans are for a 1,000-seat performing arts auditorium to host school programs and graduations.

The auditorium will be constructed on the west side of the high school. The board previously hired Axiom Architects LLC of Youngstown at $600,000 for the design and planning of the auditorium addition. The board originally wanted to have it in place for the 2020-21 school year.

The school’s cafetorium, which has a stage, is limited on seating for events. Graduations and other functions have been moved to the gymnasium.

School officials said the complex doesn’t have enough room to house all the students at once in the cafetorium, which prompted them to consider building an auditorium. The cafetorium has a stage area, which is used for plays and musical performances.

In other business, Superintendent Brian O’Hara said that in preparing for the next school year the district sent out a survey to families of possible options for the 2020-21 year.

Zuppo said in-school and out-of-school learning has been discussed, but nothing has been finalized.

O’Hara said a committee will be formed to look over the results. He said the survey asked parents of how things went when the schools closed mid-March.

“We are waiting for guidelines from the state and also have to address how we present learning digitally. The survey will help us determine what worked well and what did not and addressing transportation,” O’Hara said.

The survey is on the district’s website and must be returned by July 10 for officials to review.

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