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What Will Mehlville's New Auditorium Look Like?

At Wednesday's meeting, Superintendent Eric Knost showed the board drawings of the new auditorium.

The Mehlville School District’s now has a face as Superintendent Eric Knost presented the school board with the most recent design drawings at Wednesday’s board meeting.

Knost, who showed excitement as he presented the drawings, said work was progressing and the auditorium should still cost within the .

He said, however, that engineers have found a large sewer line running underneath the grounds where the auditorium will go.

Construction will reroute that sewer, which will cost additional funds, but total costs still won't top $6 million, the superintendent said.

The building has 545 seats—20 more than originally planned—and a main lobby Knost said could feature a district art gallery.

“This still could change if we adjust for budget reasons, the seats could fluctuate, the space could fluctuate a little bit, but this has all the components that our folks felt necessary for an appropriate auditorium,” Knost said.

A toured other facilities and developed a list of necessary items for the new auditorium. 

The drawings come days after  for moving forward with the auditorium.

Kathleen Eardley and Fred Padberg, two candidates running for the school board in April, said now was not the time to build an auditorium at a candidate forum Monday at .

“The auditorium, while it’s a good thing for the district and the money is there, it was turned down by the taxpayers (through )… it needed to have gone back to the voters. They’re going to foot the bill one way or another,” Eardley said.

At Wednesday's meeting, board members Rich Franz and Mark Stoner made a point to reiterate their support for the auditorium.

“Prop C and this auditorium plan and the that our superintendent came up with as part of that, are two separate issues; they’re not related. And the vote against Prop C, I think we would all agree at this point, was the opinion of the community that it was too much money at that time,” Franz said. “This has nothing to do with that. This auditorium is something that this school district has thought about for years and years and years and it’s long overdue.”

Stoner said going back to the voters would have cost additional money.

“The voters vote us into this office to be good stewards with the money; that’s what we were doing.,” he said.

Superintendent Eric Knost said that a requirement of purchasing the  was that the money saved had to be used for capital or one-time expenses. The district could not put that money toward teacher salaries or recurring expenses.

“There’s never been an interest in the district holding the taxpayers’ money and building up very large reserves. That’s one of the criticisms I’ve heard loud and clear… when you hold reserves and say to the community, ‘We need additional money from you,’ they don’t feel that that makes a lot of sense,” Knost said. “That was really considered in how this plan was proposed… we’re not damaging the reserves significantly.”

D Seidel March 16, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Kudos to Dr. Knost, Mr. Knobloch and the board for UNANIMOUSLY approving this progress for our district. Forward thinking, strategic planning and sound financial stewardship is leading us in the right direction. Finally, our students will have a venue to showcase their talents! This auditorium will save the district money in rentals outside the district and county AND generate money through rentals for private events.
D Seidel March 16, 2012 at 04:01 PM
How candidates Padberg and Eardley can condemn this is puzzling. Keep the momentum of progress going with Fedorchank and Wainz - numbers 1 and 2 on the ballot April 3 for Mehlville School Board of Education!
Nora Zimmer March 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I think the auditorium is long overdue. I wish that we had this when my children were in school. It is needed in this area. I only think that perhaps it should be bigger? This is still not large enough to host high school gratuation ceremonies.
Christine Stewart Mehigh March 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Perhaps the one at Oakville High School can be made bigger so we can host the ceremonies. It's a shame to have to drive all the way to St. Charles and pay all that money to rent a venue.
Liz March 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I'm not sure that there are any local hs that can host their graduation ceremonies at "home." Even Fox goes to Chaifetz and they have Rickman Auditorium. I would think to host our own ceremony, we'd need a venue that held a minimum of 1400 and that would only allow for 2 tickets/graduate, give or take. That said, I'll be happy that elementary and middle schools can stop paying rent to local churches and other districts for auditorium/performance space for concerts. I love the idea of a gallery space in the foyer. What a gift to the community! I hope that the theater in this part of the county allows for community theater to take off and give our neighbors an opportunity to participate in that type of experience as well!
Eric D. Knost March 19, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Hosting graduation would require an auditorium three to four times the size of what we are constructing. It doesn't make a lot of sense to design a facility around an event that only happens once a year. Regardless, we wouldn't be able to afford an auditorium that size nor do we have the space for it on our existing campuses. Our auditorium will be very comparable to most high school's in the metro area.

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