Bond would boost the arts | Letter to the Editor

The following is written by Darrell Miller and Paul Scott:

The Enumclaw High School auditorium is our home. We spend hours there every day. Some people even think we live there! But many people do not know about the structural and instructional problems we also deal with in our poorly-aging buildings.

The bond in April to build a new auditorium, library, gym, music rooms and classrooms will dramatically change the spaces we teach and work in for the better.

The music and drama programs work hard to showcase the best Enumclaw School District has to offer. Our productions always feature singing and dancing and gorgeous costuming. We help audiences forget the world for an hour or two and enjoy the artistic beauty and intelligence of our students!

However, our facilities are failing us. The choir room lacks adequate storage for robes, sound shells and sheet music. It isn’t even big enough to house all the students in the class. There are no private practice rooms. In the winter, we freeze. In the spring, we cook. We have no windows but somehow it still always finds a way to rain inside. When we travel to other high schools for choral contests, our students feel embarrassed and lackluster comparing rehearsal and performance spaces.

Now, don’t worry. Choir still beats their SPSL competition and places regularly at state, but it sure would be nice to bring home our trophies to a building we can be proud of. One that can encourage our talent and assist its growth.

The EHS auditorium is used more than 300 days throughout the year. Students and staff waste hours every week repairing and replacing parts of the building in a continuous losing battle. The time has come to admit this is a rusty sinking ship and another coat of paint just won’t do it. The bones are too old. The building is literally falling apart.

Instructionally, there are grievances as well. Unlike White River High School, we do not have a fly space for our lighting instruments above the stage. This means that every time we need to adjust lights for a show (at least twice a week) we have to send students up 40-foot ladders. We have no pulley systems, no rigging, no electrical safeties. Instead, we climb and adjust and climb and adjust and climb and adjust.  While this may be good exercise for monkeys, it is not practical or efficient for a building used as often as ours and there are certainly safety considerations to be made.

The bond would replace our stage and archaic lighting grid with a state-of-the-art facility with a fly loft complete with computerized lighting and fail-safe systems.  Our student technicians could spend less time climbing ladders and more time using professional protocols to design their creative worlds. This issue alone would be a fine reason to vote “yes” on the bond.

But the truth is the alternative is far more pressing. A failing bond vote resigns us to a world that doesn’t match our aspirations nor our current abilities. In the auditorium, our stairs are rotting with mushrooms again. We’ve already replaced them.  Our carpet is molding. We’ve already replaced it. Our walls are disintegrating. We’ve shored them up twice. Our seats are breaking. We’ve repaired what we can. Our roof leaks in multiple places. We’ve welded the patches again and again.

We have been proud to serve in the Enumclaw School District for the last 10 years. The community, the staff and the students make life here awesome! But we’ve both been approached by other school districts about teaching elsewhere and the main argument (and truly the only area they could compete) was in highlighting their vastly superior facilities.

We stuck with Enumclaw. Stick with us!

We appreciate your vote of confidence in our programs and your vote of support for the Enumclaw School District.

Darrell Miller is the Enumclaw High drama director; Paul Scott is the EHS music director.