On the front row of the Davis High School auditorium is a worn, wobbly, tattered seat.
Come Tuesday, it will have Rich Kendell's name on it.A group of parents plans to reserve the seat for the Davis County School District superintendent, hoping he'll get the message: Davis High needs a bigger, better auditorium.
"You can walk into any other auditorium in the district and be fairly impressed. You can walk into Davis' auditorium and be fairly depressed," said Diane Maynes, a parent who is leading the campaign for a new auditorium.
Calling it a "relic," Maynes said the auditorium is too small, its lighting and sound equipment are dangerous, and many of the seats are broken.
To educate the public about the problem, Maynes and her parent group have organized a meeting Tuesday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
Kendell, who has accepted the invitation to the meeting, said he is well aware of the problem but that funds to build a new one are simply not available in the school district's budget.
"What people don't realize is we are absolutely getting eaten up by growth."
Kendell said most of the $42 million raised by a bond last May already has been committed to the new high school under construction in Layton, expansions of six junior high schools, and air conditioning in several elementary and junior high schools.
However, about $3 million, he said, is being distributed to the high schools for "strategic remodeling." Davis High's share is about $500,000.Of that, $300,000 has been set aside to renovate the auditorium, Kendell said.
"The plan is to gut it out . . . and essentially rebuild it with new lights, sound system, seats and carpeting."
But Maynes said renovation won't solve the problem of space. According to a districtwide survey, Davis High has one of the smallest auditoriums. Its cramped state has caused civic leaders to hold numerous cultural events elsewhere.
"The kids are missing out on a lot of cultural opportunities." And the school, which can collect at least 50 percent of the ticket sales, is losing monetarily, she said.
A possible solution is a free-standing auditorium behind the school. But the project would cost $3 million - or about $3 million more than the district can afford.
Kendell said he would like to see a "civic auditorium" built on district-donated land with funding coming from several sources.
"We've been kicking that idea around for two years. But it would require Kaysville to sell some revenue bonds. It would require the (adjacent) Davis Area Technical Center to participate, and it would require some private donors."
Graphic\ Auditorium capacity
Davis County High Schools
Current Enrollment Auditorium Capacity Seats/Student
Clearfield 2,200 1,700 .77
Bountiful 1,108 680 .61
DAVIS 1,782 1,075 .60
Layton 2,000* 1,675 .84
Viewmont 1,650* 1,681 1.02
Wood Cross 1,228 1,630 1.25
School 2,600** 1,500 .58
*Will decrease by several hundred when new high school opens.
**Designed maximum capacity expected to be reached by mid-1990s.