Waynesville school district celebrates new Performing Arts Center

New $8 million facility will host school concerts and events, and be available for community-based programs

Wayne Local Schools this week opened the village of Waynesville’s newest showcase, which is a link to the school district’s past as well as its future, complete with students providing the music and part of the program.

The district’s new $8 million Performing Arts Center features a modern auditorium/multi-purpose facility that features the front facade of the former elementary school as well as a set of exterior doors for the center’s entrance. It still has classrooms for the sixth-graders in the 1956 wing of the former elementary school that is attached to the new PAC.

Overlooking the lobby is the district’s central office, complete with doors from the 1915 building.

More than 200 people attended the community open house to see the Performing Arts Center. The new facility has a seating capacity of 460 as an auditorium, and has removable seating on the floor level that is in front of the stage. The building is accessible for the disabled to get on the stage or access the floor to watch a performance.

Another feature of the building is a collection of historic artifacts from the district over the years. Various plaques from the former school buildings are on display. One artifact is a 6-foot-square piece of flooring from the 1915 building that still creaks the same way former students remembered.

After the open house, guests were given the opportunity to pick up a brick from the former elementary school.

Superintendent Sam Ison said the building will accommodate school plays, band and choir concerts that were previously held in the high school gym. He said the district will have the facility available for other community events with the large lobby. Ison said the Senior Prom will take place this spring in the PAC.

“We’re really happy with it,” he said. “This looks like a mini Schuster Center,” he said, referring to the large performing arts center in downtown Dayton.

Former superintendent Pat Dubbs, who left the district this fall to take a position with the Goshen school district, said, “This is truly a combination of the history of the Wayne Schools and its present and future.”

Dubbs said the new facility will be a source of pride for the community and the district.

In a reflection, Dubbs said, “The Waynesville school community dreamed big when designing and building this stunning performing arts center. During the construction phase, the workers who built it repeatedly talked about the unique features of the building. As the project progressed, there was a sense of awe.”

Earlier this year, Dubbs said the new Performing Arts Center would have a lobby similar to the Schuster Center and will be a multipurpose venue in its own right and could hold banquets for more than 100 people. He said the auditorium/theater will be similar to the Dayton Library Forum and will have permanent and retractable seating. It will be equipped to handle a variety of performances.

“It’s fabulous,” said resident Sandy Fuston. “It’s what we’ve all been dreaming for. It looks like the old building outside but it’s new on the inside.”

Another resident, Nikki Deters, said, “I think it’s beautiful. I haven’t been in here before but it’s bigger than I thought.” Her daughter, a choir member, performed during the event.

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