Support for Old Blair Auditorium
A $600,000 bond bill was granted in 2005 by the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate to support renovation and reopening of the Old Blair Auditorium in Silver Spring. Our state representatives have secured two extensions, but if the funds are not matched in the county's fiscal 2011 capital budget, we will likely lose the $600,000 in state support.
The Old Blair Auditorium, housed in the same building as Sligo Creek Elementary and Silver Spring International Middle School, has been boarded up for over 10 years a waste of vital space and a squandering of taxpayer dollars. The current situation is a major liability, attracting vermin and vandalism in the middle of a building with 1,600-plus students and teachers.
The time is right for funding infrastructure projects, with lowered construction costs and the pronounced need for job creation.
For a relatively small outlay of funds, the county can make use of an existing resource, save millions of dollars down the road and serve a broad range of educational, cultural and community needs.
The proposed renovation would restore the auditorium for school and community use, provide much-needed classroom and meeting space, and facilitate community outreach through after-school, evening and weekend activities. Silver Spring International Middle School, the only middle school in the county without a multi-purpose room and stage, would finally have its due.
This facility will enable and encourage educational enrichment through the arts and cost-effective outreach to at-risk youth, addressing a critical need in the down-county area adversely affected by a marked increase in gang activity.
The returns on this investment will be seen and felt for generations to come.
Visit www.oldblairauditorium.org and please support the preservation and renovation of this great county asset.
Busy Graham and Stew Hickman,