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Video/sound and stage floor upgrades, first focus of Auditorium Strategic Doing committee

Sheridan County is no stranger to the Strategic Doing concept since its introduction by the Sheridan County Community Foundation (SCCF) and Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Logan, several years ago and has subsequently seen several project successes thanks in part to its community-driven focus, definition of action-items, milestones and follow-up/accountability elements.

Past Strategic Doing projects in the county have included the Hoxie Grade School playground renovation, Hoxie Recreation Community Center, a community garden, and various upgrades to the hospital.

A Strategic Doing committee focused on the “Hoxie High School Auditorium Upgrades” was developed in 2019 to address the outdated sound, video and lighting equipment; aging stage and electrical infrastructures; and discussion of current, potential and increased uses of the auditorium in general.

At this time, the committee is pleased to announce they have reached two exciting milestones in this project, which is being broken into several key phases, through the securement of funding for two crucial upgrade components.

First, with a $70,000 funding commitment from USD 412 Community Schools and a $10,000 Dane G. Hansen Community Fund grant facilitated by SCCF for the “Phase 1” Video/Sound upgrades which include a complete overall of the sound and video projection equipment in the auditorium, and secondly, with full school funding for the reconstruction of the stage surface and transformation of the stage area to a “black box theater” design.

McClelland Sound, Wichita, was selected as the vendor that will complete the installment of the video/sound equipment to include new speakers throughout the auditorium space designed to provide for the optimal listening experience from onstage to back of house, ensuring sound carries appropriately and effectively whether one is experiencing live theater, music concerts, film screenings, public meetings, trainings or other such activities. Equipment will also include several over-ear “body” and hanging mics for live performances and handheld mics for general usage.

A brand new, electrically controlled video projection screen will be installed along with a high powered, high-definition projector capable of providing for high quality digital movie, conference and other screenings as scheduled in the venue.

The committee is very excited to announce that installation of this first phase in the upgrades to the auditorium is scheduled to occur over spring break in mid-March 2021.

This video and sound installation will be immediately followed by the stage floor reconstruction and black box transformation to be completed by Von Lintel Refinishing & Flooring, Hays.

A black box theater design will create a visually clean performance space, increasing the vividness of lighting, costumes, sets and props, as well as offering the ability for flexible staging.

It lends itself nicely to Phase 2 of the upgrades project which will focus on obtaining funding for an overhaul of the lighting system which, at present, is extremely outdated, contains obsolete technology and is severely insufficient for contemporary needs.

It is the desire and intent of the committee, in partnership with the school district, to purchase a modern LED stage lighting system specifically designed for the stage space. This configuration allows for high quality lighting designs and uses during performances, concerts, etc., with the added benefits of energy efficiency and sustainability afforded from the use of LED technology.

The committee is currently reviewing lighting system bids and will be securing bids for the electrical infrastructure upgrade prior to determining a final project cost. Once decided, an official fundraising campaign will commence with funding efforts to include grant applications, fundraising events and other activities and the solicitation of private donations.

With pandemic safety precautions in mind, the committee and school district hope to schedule open house-type events featuring complimentary film screenings for the community to experience and enjoy the fruits of the Phase 1 video and sound upgrades and announce the Phase 2 fundraising goals, timeline and steps for the lighting renovation aspect of this project.

Additional project components under consideration include the purchase and installation of new seating and carpeting throughout the venue as well as house lighting, ceiling decor, and lobby design and amenities.

The auditorium committee is co-chaired by Karl Pratt, Main Street Arts Council executive director, and Mark Wildeman, Hoxie High School principal, and has included community members Ed Rucker, Lucas Burmeister, Harry Joe Pratt, Renae Kersenbrock, Paulette Wildeman, Allison Nondorf, Darlene Schaffer.

If you have interest in assisting with the fundraising aspects of Phase 2 of this project or any of the other ongoing Strategic Doing projects, which include 1) Wayfinder Signage around Hoxie, 2) Pocket Park between First State Bank and Hirsch Law Firm, 3) Park Improvements, and the 4) Hotel/Motel and 5) Childcare research committees, please contact Karl Pratt, SCCF board liaison.

SCCF is an affiliate of the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation based in Bird City. The foundation seeks to encourage, prudently manage, and distribute charitable contributions to improve the quality of life in Sheridan County residents, now and in the future. To learn more, contact Pratt at 785-675-1240,, visit Connect with SCCF at

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