Construction crews scrambled away over winter break working on the new auditorium at Woodside Elementary School, trying to make sure that students can rehearse there for their annual eighth-grade operetta by April 1.
When the students start their operetta practice in the brand new building, for the first time in many years the rehearsal will not be in a building called Sellman Auditorium. The new facility, which has been referred to while it's been under construction as the Sellman Multi-Purpose Building, is apparently going to be renamed, according to a discussion at the district's governing board Dec. 16 meeting.
The naming of the new building was not on the agenda, but was discussed as part of a report on the construction.
The previous school auditorium/gymnasium was named after George Sellman, who for 23 years was the district superintendent; he retired in 1986.
Mr. Sellman, who directed eighth-grade operettas and community productions at the school for nearly 40 years, died in 2005 at the age of 81. After the building underwent a $1.5 million renovation in 2003, it was re-dedicated with a production in his honor.
The original Sellman Auditorium was demolished in June. Even now, the building under construction is referred to as the "Sellman Multi-Purpose Building" on the school's website.
Emmalyn Shaw, president of the Woodside School Foundation and a member of the Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee, said at the board meeting that the oversight committee members had discussed the name change and thought it would be appropriate. She suggested that perhaps a foyer could be named after Mr. Sellman so the building's name could be "a little bit more school spirit oriented."
George Offen, a longtime Woodside resident and former school board member who is on the oversight committee, said he agreed. "I don't know if we represent all of the community," he said. "For us it wasn't a problem."
Superintendent Beth Polito said that some of the wood from the floor in the old Sellman auditorium was preserved and will be put in the lobby. "The board thought that might be a nice place to honor George Sellman," she said.
Steve Frank, middle school principal, suggested that naming the stage after Mr. Sellman might be appropriate.
Superintendent Polito said the issue will come back to the board on a future agenda for a final decision on the new name, and that students and staff will be asked for their input about a name for the new auditorium.