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Daily Oklahoman Newspaper Article on Rennovated HHS Auditorium

 

Harding Auditorium Receives Renovation

EDUCATION: VOLUNTEERS GET RID OF THE ‘GLOWING GREEN’

BY DAWN MARKS
Published: August 27, 2009

The students deserved better, so Mark Orgren said he decided to do something.

Orgren, whose daughter, Kristen Orgren, graduated from Harding Fine Arts Academy in May, said he noticed while sitting in the auditorium shared by Harding Fine Arts and Harding Charter Preparatory High School that the room was in disrepair.

He wanted something better for students.

"I’d sit here in this auditorium thinking, ‘This used to be something,’” Orgren said. "It just glowed in this ugly green color.”

So Orgren approached his employer, Chesapeake Energy Corp., about making the renovation of the auditorium a company volunteer project. Orgren is manager of geoscience technology at Chesapeake. About 150 volunteers worked more than 1,000 hours renovating the auditorium this summer. When students returned to classes this month, it was mostly finished.

The auditorium had holes in the ceiling, holes in the stage and green paint on the walls and many other problems, he said.

The two schools are housed in the Harding High School building, which was built in 1923 and designed by architect Solomon Layton. The last time the auditorium was updated cosmetically was probably in the 1950s, said Sherry Rowan, Harding Fine Arts principal.

Orgren said volunteers and school officials used examples of Layton’s other work to decide what color pallet to use. Through donations from several companies, the stage and ceiling were repaired, walls repainted and chairs cleaned and refinished. Martha Burger, senior vice president of human and corporate resources for Chesapeake, announced Tuesday at the auditorium dedication that the floor likely will be replaced and an anonymous donation will pay for new stage curtains.

David Webster, Harding Charter student council president, said the renovation will allow the schools to compete with larger schools.

"We’re becoming a school, I guess, to be reckoned with,” Webster said. "We have nice things now.”

Jalisa Green, Harding Fine Arts student council co-president, said she’s looking forward to using the stage for musicals and choir.

"I think it will help us grow a little bit,” Green said.

http://newsok.com/harding-auditorium-receives-renovation/article/3395860

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