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Kingswood Arts Center holds Grand Opening

THE KINGSWOOD HIGH SCHOOL BAND under the direction of Donald Liedke gave the inaugural concert on the new stage at the grand opening and dedication of the Kingswood Arts Center last Thursday evening, Dec. 16. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
December 23, 2010
WOLFEBORO — Pride radiated throughout the newly constructed Kingswood Arts Center from student and taxpayer alike as its grandeur and aesthetics were taken in for the first time by the general public at its grand opening and dedication ceremony held last Thursday, Dec. 16.

As if the shiny, new multi-million dollar building wasn't enough, a capella group Route 28, the high school chorus, and the high school band all gave moving performances worthy of the cause.

Directed by Katie Small, Senior Chris Tower led Route 28 through a variety of songs ranging from "Build Me Up Buttercup" to "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday." While the group's spirited and energetic performance set the bar high, the chorus and band alike held their own and proved that they were equally capable of evoking emotion under the direction of Donald Liedke.

Following the performances Superintendent of Schools Jack Robertson commended the collaborative efforts and dedication of CMK Architects, North Branch Construction and all the people in between who contributed to the completion of the project.

"Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning," quoted Robertson summing up the essence of the evening's gathering.

"With tonight's celebration we are actually symbolizing the completion of Phase I of our building project, but it means much more than that to our students."

After thanking the many major players involved with Phase I construction Robertson handed the mic over to Chair of the Building and Maintenance Committee Ernie Brown whom he said "has dedicated himself to providing appropriate educational facilities for all children living in the Governor Wentworth Regional School District."

Brown first thanked the voters for their support before divulging a long list of ways in which the building will save taxpayers money through energy efficiency and contribute toward an additional $1.8 million in savings via the Collaborative for High Performance Schools program (CHPS).

"When we achieve CHPS certification, and we will," Brown assured the crowd, "then the State will pay for another three percent of the gross amount that we are borrowing to build and improve these schools. This will reduce the cost to you, the people of this district."

"It is with facilities like these that [the school board members] can honestly say that they are 'helping each child create the future,'" Brown concluded of today's board, which has an accumulated 105 years of elected service to the children of the district.

One of these tenured members, Jack Widmer, current School Board Chairman, presented the dedication speech and afterwards invited everyone to tour the rooms and take advantage of the students stationed throughout the building to answer questions.

"As chairman of the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board, I know better than anyone that without the support of our citizens this would not be the Kingswood Arts Center," he concluded. "Therefore on behalf of all the students who will benefit from having access to the opportunities which this building will bring for many, many years to come, thank you for your support. You have a facility in which everyone one of you can be proud."

The dedication came just in time for middle school staff and faculty to make use of the Arts Center. The classrooms and offices, which currently occupy the top floor of the middle school, will be temporarily relocated to the Arts Center while the existing school building is renovated.

While Phase I was completed on time and under budget, Phase II, the renovation and expansion of the vocational center, high school and middle school, is now 20 percent complete with final completion scheduled for the summer of 2012.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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