On edge of their seats at West
The Cranston High School West’s Alumni Association has been working in conjunction with many community partners over the past nearly two years to undertake a huge auditorium restoration project. Now, as the curtains are ready to open on a new school year, the students both past and present are on the edge of their seats, waiting to see the project’s progress. On Monday, August 21 hundreds of new, red, cushioned chairs arrived on the scene, an improvement sure to get a standing ovation, given that the seats which graced the auditorium for the past half century were hard, wooden, uncomfortable, and cold. According to David DiMaio, president of the Alumni Association, even this latest phase of the project was a full-on group effort, with all hands on deck for the chairs’ arrival. “Originally, the seats were due to arrive at West on Saturday,” he said. “Then we heard that there was a delay at the factory, so they were rescheduled for arrival on Monday. The 55-foot truck was late getting to the school, but there was a group of people on hand, ready to pitch in to help unload all of the boxes of seats. We unloaded that truck in two hours’ time.” Workers immediately got busy, beginning to install the very first rows of seating on the waiting frames which filled the room in a staggered formation. “Every seat is staggered so that you don’t sit directly behind the person in front of you, so you’re not looking right at the back of someone’s head,” DiMaio said. Although this week’s arrival of the chairs was exciting, it was clear that a great deal of work had been going on in the auditorium space all summer long, with fresh coats of paint adorning the walls and ceiling, new audience lighting above the seating area, and the floors prepped and ready for a new rug which would soon be arriving in the hours following the installation of the seats. A custom, handicapped seating area railing would also be installed in the coming weeks. “I am so proud of the community partnerships that have been created to make this project a reality,” DiMaio said. “It’s been a coming together of many groups to complete this one project in such a short window of time.” The Alumni Association has additional seat sponsorships available for those who wish to support the project in that way, and in-kind donations are also always welcomed. To purchase seat sponsorships, or to get more information about the Cranston West Alumni Association or its upcoming fund raising events, visit cranstonwestalumniassociation.org.