Almost ready

The stage is set for the Fort Dodge Middle School auditorium to be completed, but not before the first day of school.

“We’ve basically had some things that have fallen short through different coordination and other issues,” Shane Albrecht, Fort Dodge Community School District construction manager, said.

It was planned in advance by the district, though, that if any part of the construction of the new $30 million facility fell behind, it would be the $3.8 million addition.

“If there was one area that was going to be behind we said let’s have it be the auditorium, that way we can have kids in the rest of the space and push toward having the auditorium once we can get through some of the answers we need and questions we had,” Albrecht said.

Among other areas, work continues on the auditorium seats.

“Right now they’re working real hard to get the wood rails in. All the auditorium has some nice oak trim,” Albrecht said. “And they’re working around the control and sound booth up top, getting that all finished up.”

An area of contention, Albrecht said, is the controls for the stage’s fire curtain.

“There was a motor that was up kind of high and we’re just working through some coordination things with it,” he said. “No major problem, just the way it was done versus the way it needed to practically be done.”

Work on the auditorium will continue when school starts Tuesday, Albrecht said.

“There’s a couple of temporary walls that have been put up,” he said. “Since this has its own entrance, that will isolate the auditorium from where our kids are, so people can be working on the auditorium, still finishing that up, while kids are going to school.”

Construction, Albrecht said, will not affect instruction at the middle school.

“We put everything on hold until we kind of see how this all plays,” he said. “The good thing is, if need be, we still have the theater at the high school we can use for things. We still have Phillips we can use, if we had to, for any type of presentation or community event.”

When it is completed, the concrete auditorium will hold 650. Forty seats can be removed to make room for an orchestra pit.

“We’ve got a great big projection screen that comes down from the front, as well as a sound system,” Albrecht said. “So if we need to have any assemblies, community events in this space, we also have a great screen and are able to show things here.”

A benefit to music teachers is a piano can be moved easily from the classroom to the auditorium.

“They’re both built at the same height, so we don’t have a lot of moving or lifting heavy pianos,” Albrecht said. “We can just take it on the stage.”

According to Albrecht, the auditorium is not too far behind on completion.

“We hope to have everything in and this all to be ready by the first of October,” he said.

Construction otherwise is going well, Albrecht said.

“It looks fantastic,” he said. “I can’t wait for it to be finished and opened up.”