Acoustic upgrade coming to West Point auditorium

The W.T. Robinson and Sture G. Olsson Civic Auditorium is due for an acoustic boost courtesy of Arts Alive.

Arts Alive, a local nonprofit organization, holds several performances throughout the year at the auditorium and plans to improve the room's sound quality by installing 24 acoustic panels.

The panels will provide a better hearing and listening environment by reducing echo inside the auditorium, said Matt Boughan of Acoustical Solutions, a Richmond-based company Arts Alive has selected to carry out the project.

"You'll hear a difference," Boughan said.

The project is anticipated to cost $12,000-$16,000, and the panels will be placed along the side and back walls of the auditorium, said Donna Kline, Arts Alive coordinator.

The acoustics in the auditorium have been a longstanding issue. For the past few years, Arts Alive season subscribers have reported sound is either difficult to make out or echoes during performances, Kline said.

School Board members expressed support for the proposal when Arts Alive pitched the idea to the body for its approval on March 21.

The upgrade could benefit performers and audience members in the auditorium, which is located inside the high school and used by students, said Dudley Olsson, School Board chairwoman.

"The sound quality is not as impressive as the space," said School Board member Paul Diggs.

While no official vote was made, the School Board gave the nod for Arts Alive to conduct the project.

Arts Alive isn't asking for funding from the school district to fund the project at this time, said Earl Wilson, Arts Alive president.

The project is estimated to take three days to complete and ideally would take place during the summer, Wilson said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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