Woodside Elementary School's eighth-graders, and the large cadre of adults assisting them, will not have quite the same experience putting on the annual eighth-grade operetta as did the previous generations involved in the school's long-standing tradition.
That's because Woodside Elementary recently completed its new $8 million Sellman Pavilion, which gives the students in the one-school, kindergarten-to-eighth-grade district a state-of-the art stage, sound system, lighting and even a rear-projection screen. There is seating in raked seats with backs for 200 people, plus room for 200 more in folding chairs.
At a Wednesday, April 20, open house, the public may see the new building, and other buildings built with proceeds from the $13.5-million bond measure and about $5 million in donations. These include two new classrooms for the tuition-based preschool on the campus and a new design lab.
The open house program starts at 5 p.m. with music by the school's choir and jazz bands. At 6 p.m. a program will feature remarks by the school's operetta director and music teachers. Alumni of the school will also offer tours of the new buildings.
The previous building, Sellman Auditorium, had a portable stage with seating on folding chairs.
The new building, like the one it replaced, will be used for much more than the annual operetta, however. Tucked into storage cabinets on one end of the room are cafeteria tables and benches. Students previously had to eat in classrooms or on the gym floor if it was raining. The building, unlike the one it replaces, also has a small kitchen.
The theater seating folds up against the wall when not in use, making room for a full-sized basketball court, two practice basketball courts or a volleyball court. The larger backboards can be folded up into the ceiling when not in use, and the smaller ones can be stored away in more cabinets.
The $8.26 million project was built with $6.4 million from a bond measure approved by voters in 2014 and $1.38 million in donations, plus $268,000 in other public funding. The bond measure authorized the issuance of up to $13.5 million in bonds.
Mike Wassermann, a vice president with Capital Program Management, which is managing the school construction, says the building is also filled with features to save energy and water. The solar panels on its roof allow it to create as much energy as it uses, he said, and skylights with lenses can focus natural sunlight to light the room or be shut when light isn't wanted.