High School Auditorium to be Air Conditioned in 2014

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Mr. Alan presents the award for Best Picture at Film Festival Awards Night.

Rachel Spang

Mr. Alan presents the award for Best Picture at Film Festival Awards Night.
Mr. Alan presents the award for Best Picture at Film Festival Awards Night.

After all the time and work that the students dedicated to Film Festival, red carpet and Awards Night is a fun and glamorous way for the film crews to end the annual festival. From the beginning of red carpet to the end of awards, the event in its entirety is around 4 hours. Although the conclusion of the Film Festival is supposed to be an enjoyable time for crews and audience alike, the timing of the event, regularly held in mid-May, causes an uncomfortable temperature for crews and spectators. During the 2-hour presentation of the four films nominated for Best Picture, the sweltering auditorium was filled with an unbreakable discomfort this year. The boys from each film crew were constantly adjusting their tuxes, which provided no relief from the heat and humidity. Instead of focusing solely on the movies, the audience was more concerned with fanning themselves, desperate for some break from the almost unbearable warmth of the auditorium. Though the award recipients kept their speeches short and sweet, the heat in the packed, windowless room was almost insufferable by the time it was over.

The heat in the auditorium has been a problem for Film Festival for years now, as well as many other activities held in the auditorium. The month of May tends to be warm, and the popularity of the event crowds the auditorium for each night of the movie showings. Even on cooler days, the auditorium temperature can shoot up quite quickly. This makes the auditorium a particularly uncomfortable environment for end of the year activities.

In an effort to raise money for air conditioning, students and faculty involved with the Film Festival set up movie nights held in February and March of this year. They showed kid-friendly movies in the auditorium, such as “Aladdin” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” that attracted people of all ages. Although the viewings were free, a five dollar donation was encouraged to help support the goal of raising enough funds for the auditorium air conditioning unit. Michael Alan, who heads the Film Festival program, said that “the Film Festival got the idea of the need for air conditioning in the right people’s minds, and gave the issue a fresh start.”

Finally, the town approved funding for an air conditioning unit in the auditorium. The unit is to be installed this summer, much to the relief of the students and faculty involved in any activities that use the auditorium late in the year. Rory Hardiman, a participant in the Film Festival and the Drama Depatment,  said, “I am extremely thankful for the air conditioning.  Everyone will be much more comfortable, thus making any events even more enjoyable.”

Mr. Alan said that the air conditioning will be “huge for Film Festival” and that it “will change what the past decade has been during the festival— hot and uncomfortable.” The air conditioning could possibly boost audience for not only the Film Festival, but also Foreign Language Awards Night, also known as FLAN. Although FLAN can have a large turn out, some students invited to receive their awards for achievements in the Foreign Language Department simply don’t show up. Mrs. Lisa Osborne, head of the foreign Language Department, said that “it gets very hot on stage for the teachers and student performers, and it also makes parents and students in the audience rather uncomfortable by the end of the night.” Though the presentations put on by each department are entertaining, such as the dance that the AP Spanish students preformed, the heat of the late-May ceremony can cause audience members to leave before it is over. Mrs. Osborne said that the addition of air conditioning will “make a much more pleasant atmosphere for everyone” during FLAN. The heat has also been a problem for the Walpole Town Meetings, which meet in the school auditorium. Mrs. Nancy Gallivan, a member of the meetings, said that the heat has “certainly made for some long and difficult nights,” and that “people have less patience when they are overheated, and running the fans can only help in a limited way.” The addition of air conditioning will create a better environment for the town meetings in the auditorium. Mrs. Gallivan said that members of the town meetings “will be appreciative of the added comfort” for next year. The air conditioning units, which will be installed during the summer, are just like any other improvement the high school makes— beneficial for everyone. The installation is sure to make the auditorium a more enjoyable and comfortable place for school activities of all kinds.