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Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation has $1.4 million raised for renovation

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:18 p.m. CDT

CARY – A campaign to upgrade the fine arts facilities at Cary-Grove High School has raised about $1.4 million so far, organizers said.

Since August, the Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation has been raising money to improve fine arts facilities at the high school.

The group has plans for a $3 million to $4 million renovation to the school’s fine arts facilities. The foundation hopes to have all the needed money raised by the end of the calendar year, said John Jordan, co-founder and board member of the Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation.

In March, the foundation received nonprofit status, allowing donations to the foundation to be tax deductible.

“That makes a huge difference for those writing larger checks,” Jordan said. The Cary-Grove Fine Arts Foundation raised $58,000 during Cary-Grove High School’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

During the school’s six performances of “Fiddler on the Roof,” audience members were able to sponsor commemorative seats. About 10 percent of the 650-seat sponsorships were sold during the production, and the sponsorships ranged from $500 to $2,000.

The foundation raised $33,000 through seat sponsorships and received an additional $25,000 from the Cary-Grove Booster Club in a matching donation.

“It helped us get others to get on board,” Jordan said.

Administrators previously looked at redoing the school’s auditorium, but funding was unavailable after budget cuts in recent years.

Cary-Grove’s auditorium hasn’t had a major renovation since it was built in 1961. It doesn’t have air conditioning.

The restrooms, dressing rooms and seating need to be upgraded, and the auditorium’s electrical, sound and lighting systems are outdated.

District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma said the renovations are in the planning stages, but said the district, its architects and the foundation are working together.

“We want them up to a modern standard,” Puma said. “Kids are doing great things, and the staff is getting the most out of the facility we have.”

The foundation was directed by the school board this week to start working closely with the district’s architects to put more detail into renovation plans and determine a timeline for construction.

The foundation hopes to start work on a renovation in 2014, “but we will work with the school board to figure out a time that makes the most sense,” Jordan said.

To help continue to raise money, the foundation plans to schedule an alumni benefit concert, featuring alumni of the Cary-Grove fine arts program.

Jordan said the school has a good program now, as many students are involved in fine arts in some way, such as being a crew member, through the band and art classes, among other things.

“We believe through this public-private fundraising, we can enhance that experience further,” Jordan said.

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