You don’t see many high school auditoria of this quality.
Historic CHS Auditorium in Need of Upgrades
SOMEF benefit targets CHS auditorium lights and sound for improvements.
By Marcia Worth
1927 saw Charles Lindbergh fly solo to Paris, the numbering of New Jersey highways making possible a legion of “What exit?” jokes, and the building of the Holland Tunnel. Locally, 1927 marked another achievement, the opening of Columbia High School, and the first use of its auditorium.Architect James O. Betelle told the Newark Evening News that CHS was “the finest high school building in the country.” For its time, the auditorium was a state-of-the-art facility. “Its like a mini Broadway theater,” said Charlie Hooven, who works for Synergy, the company that cares for the districts technology, as he adjusted light levels for the coming weekends Special Dance performance. “This theater has a full fly space, which is a huge plus.” In the past, that vast space above the stage has held flying equipment used in “Peter Pan.” “We probably still have the rigging up there somewhere,” joked Hooven. “Its pretty amazing.”But like an old home that has been lived in for generations, the auditorium is due for some renovation. The South Orange-Maplewood Education Foundations fundraiser “A Night on the Towns,” scheduled for Sunday, May 23, has designated the auditorium as the recipient of the event proceeds. The evening is part of “Take a Seat,” SOMEFs campaign to raise extra funds to complete the districts planned renovation of the auditorium.