NEW BEDFORD — Two comprehensive renovation projects at New Bedford High School are underway: an overhaul of the Philip Bronspiegel Auditorium and the swimming pool locker rooms and showers. Both projects are funded by the City of New Bedford’s 2018 Capital Improvement Program, which provided the school district with a budget of $750,000.

The projects will be completed at budget, said Dr. Barry Rabinovitch, the district’s School Construction Facilitator. He expects renovations to the auditorium to cost $629,883. A change order issued by the district during construction will add approximately $6,000, increasing the total to $635,994.

Renovations to the pool locker rooms will cost approximately $620,000. The $577,944 not covered by the Capital Improvement Program will be paid by the district’s School Department.

Mayor Jon Mitchell noted “These important improvements are some of the best investments the city can make in its future. Maintaining and improving our school facilities demonstrate that we as a community are committed to enhancing the education of every student, as well as the wide spectrum of extracurricular activities they participate in, from athletic programs to fine and performing arts.”

Mount Vernon Group Architects, which has managed past renovations at NBHS and at other public schools in the city, is overseeing both projects.

Renovations to the auditorium are the largest since the school’s construction in the 1970s. When complete the auditorium will boast a LED lighting system with all new fixtures, cabling and master console for creating Broadway caliber stage lighting and atmospheric colors effects. The system is custom designed for the school’s many performing arts programs produced throughout the year, including the NBHS Drama Club’s fully staged musical productions. Dagle Electrical Construction Corp. is the contractor.

The work also includes installing new backstage rigging used to control scenery and replacing the safety lighting system that illuminates the aisles of the auditorium.

Finally, a new state-of-the-art theatrical sound system will ensure audiences a superior acoustical experience during every program. The auditorium-wide A/V upgrade includes new amplifier towers stage-left and stage-right, full subwoofer ensemble, new 24-foot projection screen, and fully revamped projection booth equipment featuring new mixer board and mobile mixer interface. The auditorium’s existing 16-foot screen will be relocated to the school’s Little Theater. The Ockers Company of Brockton is the contractor.

“We are so excited for the completion of this project,” said Lynn Souza, the district’s Director of Fine Arts. “Our students and staff always work hard to put on high-quality productions and we look forward to seeing what they create with a fully functioning, cutting-edge production system.”

Dr. Rabinovitch said that he expects the auditorium renovation project to be completed by April 15 and operational by May 1. The high school will train its staff to maintain the new facilities and will require outside organizations that qualify to rent NBPS facilities to hire trained technicians before renting the auditorium.

 Renovations to the swimming pool locker rooms, which include ADA improvements, private showers, and changing areas, are expected to be completed in August.

Information from New Bedford Public Schools