Dear Community Members,

As authors of this letter, we first wish to emphasize that we have been 100 percent in support of the new combined school uniting the students of Eveleth, Gilbert and Virginia. As long time residents of the area, we are extremely excited to see our communities come together for this historic collaboration that will be a positive force for our students and residents for countless years and long after we are gone.

For nearly 100 years, the beautiful school auditoriums across the Range have served the rich music tradition here. As the school plans for the high school have become available to the public, an area of concern for the music and arts community has been the decrease in seating size of the Performing Arts Center. Originally, the proposed number of seats was between 1000 and 1500. That number now has been reduced to 750 seats.

To put this in perspective, the Virginia Goodman Auditorium holds 1400. The Eveleth Boardman Auditorium holds 650 and the Gilbert Auditorium holds 550. In less than three years, we will be combining these three communities with all events taking place in the new auditorium seating only 750. For many school and community events, this will not be adequate.

Many students, parents and other community members are not aware of this change. There are a number of events that will be adversely affected because of reduction in size. These include:

• Band, Choir or Orchestra Concerts, grades 7 through 12

• Any combined concerts by the above named music groups

• Arrowhead Concert Association (membership is currently 1100)

• Downtown Dance Academy (usually 1000 audience members)

• Visiting groups such as the Concordia Choir

• Possible future performances by groups that would require seating of more than 750

We look forward to our new Rock Ridge High School being a fantastic place for our area youth to be educated and exposed to 21st Century experiences available to them. Rock Ridge High School will also be a gathering place for many school and non-school events involving large numbers of community attendees. The new Performing Arts Center needs to be large enough for events that require seating for at least 1000 people and can only be held one night due to costs and other factors. Without making this venue large enough, there will be NO facility to serve the entire East Range community.

School officials are aware of our concerns. With school plans being finalized soon, we ask that you take a few minutes to write a short letter ASAP in support of increased seating (at least 1000) in the Performing Arts Center. Please share this information with others. We feel the impact of public opinion will be greater if all letters or emails are sent to the following addresses: nschmidt@vmps.org

Dr. Noel Schmidt

Superintendent, Virginia Schools

411 South 5th Avenue

Virginia, MN. 55792

Thank you,

Barbara Baldrica

President, Arrowhead Concert Association

Accompanist, Virginia High School Choirs

Joyce Bloomquist

Board Member, Arrowhead Concert Association

Volunteer, EGV Collaboration

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