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Trapp Auditorium Committee
Waukegan High School Trapp Auditorium Rehabilitation Project

The Trapp Auditorium, located in Waukegan High School, is in dire need of rehabilitation. The Trapp Auditorium, named for Waukegan High School West Campus Principal Orlin Trapp, has been in use for 50 years. It is the largest auditorium in Lake County, seating over 1900 people. An organization, The Trapp Auditorium Steering Committee, has been formed to address the various issues this facility faces. Paramount among the concerns the members of the Committee are focused on are life-safety issues. These include general electrical repairs, stage reconstruction and addressing the safety of the overhead rigging that holds the stage lights. Secondly the Committee will address aesthetic concerns such as general redecorating and replacing the seats in the auditorium. A special fund, derived from community donations and to be used only for the rehab, has been set up through The Waukegan Schools Foundation. The Trapp Auditorium serves as a venue for Waukegan High School student productions and is open to the community for other uses such as talent shows, religious services and fund raising events. It provides an affordable alternative to The Genesee Theatre for community groups seeking public venues in Waukegan. Estimated goal to cover the cost of aesthetic concerns and other amenities is $1.2 million dollars. The Committee is being chaired by Jean Windberg, a retired teacher and Claudia Freeman and is actively seeking community members and Waukegan High alumni to join in the effort. If interested, please contact Jean Windberg at 847-244-8546 or Claudia Freeman at 847-224-9276.

Those wishing to make a donation may do so by sending a check to the Waukegan Public Schools District 60, located at 1201 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan, IL 60085 made payable to the Waukegan Schools Foundation. Please write 'Trapp Auditorium Rehabilitation Project' on the memo line. All donations are tax deductible.
TheatreGuy Wrote:I am on the commitee. The look of the theatre as far as the wooden structure is concerned is NOT going to be changed. What is being looked at is updating the rigging system, new curtains, new lighting and sound equipment, possibly new HVAC, new pit cover and either replacing or recovering the seats. I am trying to get a workshop adding on as well. Waukegan High School has an amazing theatre, unfortunately it is difficult to really use it well because there is no room for set construction. Without the much needed workshop there needs to be funds raised in excess of $800,000. Many of the problems in the theatre fall under the "life safety" category. The problem is the district does not have the money right now to deal with them because of all of the expenses being accrued for the change over to one high school with 2 addresses. The committee was desirous of using funds that the Trapp has made and will make for helping wih the renovations, but alas a few well meaning souls have scared the school board into thinking the Trapp Auditorium is dangerous. The school board acting on the only information they have been given has shut down all use of the rigging system. That means no more curtains until $200,000 can be spent on the rigging. It will be very difficult to get groups to come in if no one can use curtains. No groups, no money. No money, no new rigging. It is a vicious circle. There is a stop gap measure which can make the rigging safe again. Please pray for me that I can help the school board understand we NEED to be able to use the space, rigging system and all.
TG, what is the issue with the rigging. I'm not familiar with theater rigging but I am experienced in many types of restoration work including metal fabrication. I have done quite a bit of restoration work and I know that a lot of times things can be restored and rebuilt rather than replaced. For instance, I have seen an estimate of $2000 to replace an entire component when I repaired the old one by replacing a bearing at a material cost of $10. I see that kind of thing happen a lot. I like to call it being frugal. How was the $200,000 figure arrived at? Is there any kind of engineering or professional report on the need for repair and/or other structural issues with the rigging or other life safety issues? I'm betting it can be done for a fraction of the $200,000 estimate , especially with some volunteers. Maybe a call could be put out for Waukegan businesses to donate a skilled workers to help with the project. It doesn't cost much to ask.
The fundamental problems with the rigging are the hemp ropes and cables; they are original and in poor condition. Current standard in the industry is a cotton/nylon blend. Also, the cables involved in suspending each batten are dirty, rusty and not in optimal shape and need to be replaced.

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