The Ticonderoga High School auditorium hosts concerts, plays, ceremonies and other activities throughout the year. There are discussions about renovating the facility.
Nearly a century old, the Ticonderoga High School auditorium needs a face lift.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to restore this historic landmark to its original grandeur?” asked Janet Mallon, a Ti Middle School teacher who is organizing an effort to restore the facility.
Ticonderoga High School was built in 1928-1930. It is a three-story, masonry neo-Georgian style building with a slate roof, concrete foundation and brick walls. It features a semi-circular portico with Corinthian order columns and a balustrade and a copper polygonal cupola.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
While there have been renovation and expansion projects at the school, the auditorium has remained virtually untouched since it was constructed.
“The lighting is dim; the slate blue paint sucks the light and life out of the ambiance,” Mallon said. “Some might not even realize that the light fixtures in the balcony are original. Sometimes the acoustics are not so great; the ventilation and temperature controls need updating; and the seats are not very comfortable.”
Mallon said any renovation project will be financed through donations and grants.
“This project will be funded through grants and donations, not through tax dollars,” she stressed.
The first step is determining the cost. To that end Mallon is seeking old photos that can be shared with an architect.
“I am in the process of getting a quote to have the Ticonderoga High School auditorium historically renovated to the beauty of the 1930s, but with the technical and comfort advantages of today,” Mallon explained. “One of the first steps to take is to get some photographs of the auditorium audience section and stage. I do not have any old photos of the high school auditorium and I desperately need some to show the architect. The architect can then proceed to come up with a quote for the project.”
People with old photos of the auditorium are asked to contact Mallon at Ticonderoga Middle School.
John McDonald, Ticonderoga Central School superintendent, said he and Mallon have met with an architect and had preliminary discussions on a possible project.
“Janet and I met with a historic preservation architect,” McDonald said. “He was very impressed with the facility and even commented how he could not believe a community this size would build such a great venue.”
Any renovation must retain the character of the original auditorium, McDonald stressed.
“The cost is extensive as we would need to address windows, paint, seating, air conditioning, asbestos, curtains, lighting,” he said. “All must be done in keeping with the integrity of the original design as we are on the National Historic Registry.”
The auditorium restoration project may be difficult and expensive, but Mallon believes it’s a worthwhile project.
“School groups as well as community groups could use it all year round,” Mallon said. “Once restored, the auditorium might even be a drawing card for big name performers to come to our town. Ticonderoga does not have a bigger gathering spot for performances and community meetings.”
The school district completed a $23.8 million building and renovation project in 2010. The project was proposed following a facilities study by a group of district residents in 2006-07.
That project included construction of a three-floor addition on the Amherst Avenue side of the high school to house technology, music and art instruction; moving the principal’s office from the second floor to space near the building’s front door; building a secure vestibule at the school entrance; moving the district office from a separate building on Amherst Avenue into the school; moving the guidance office; expanding the library; and more. The project also addressed issues at Ticonderoga Middle School and Ti Elementray School.
The project did not address the auditorium.
“If I am remembering correctly, there was mention of the auditorium when discussing our facility improvements, however, given the other priorities dealing with safety and security and the cost implications it was not given a high priority,” McDonald said. “I guess this demonstrates how needy we were and how much more is out there.”