Willis auditorium receives facelift


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com



The stage at Willis was recently repaired, sanded, and repainted as Delaware City Schools continues to renovate and update the auditorium.

The stage at Willis was recently repaired, sanded, and repainted as Delaware City Schools continues to renovate and update the auditorium.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

A view of the updated seats and improved stage inside the auditorium at the Willis Education Center in Delaware.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

The latest renovation to the auditorium at Willis Education Center was completed over winter break as Delaware City Schools continues to improve the facility.

Jason Sherman, director of facilities and transportation for the district, told the Delaware City Schools Board of Education on Monday that the stage in the auditorium at Willis was recently remodeled, the latest in a series of ongoing improvements to the theater.

Sherman said the auditorium is currently used for the middle school drama productions, large school assemblies like author visits, and upcoming productions by Arena Fair Theatre. He added the stage floor was recently repaired and refinished.

“We replaced broken floor boards, sanded the entire surface, and applied black stage paint,” Sherman said.

The stage upgrade follows upgrades to the seats and lighting in the auditorium. Sherman added the district will consult with retired Dempsey Middle School Theater Director Pam Beery to make sure the upgrades meet all of the location’s needs.

Sherman said the district has spent about $40,000 over the last three years renovating the auditorium at Willis, and more upgrades are being planned for the facility.

“We would like to do more lighting upgrades, improve the stage curtains, and add air conditioning to make it a more usable and enjoyable space,” Sherman said. “Eventually, some interior paint on the walls and perhaps some new flooring.”

Sherman said the Willis auditorium has several advantages over its more recent counterpart at Hayes High School, including that it was designed with acoustics that do not rely on amplified sound.

“The decorations and furnishings are more ornate than other more modern theaters and have a classic design,” he added. “Also, the central location of Willis could make the auditorium facilities an integral part of downtown activities and programming.”

According to Sherman, the Willis auditorium contains 713 seats, just 16 seats fewer than the 729 seats at Hayes.

The stage at Willis was recently repaired, sanded, and repainted as Delaware City Schools continues to renovate and update the auditorium.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/01/web1_DSC_1058.jpgThe stage at Willis was recently repaired, sanded, and repainted as Delaware City Schools continues to renovate and update the auditorium. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

A view of the updated seats and improved stage inside the auditorium at the Willis Education Center in Delaware.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/01/web1_DSC_1055.jpgA view of the updated seats and improved stage inside the auditorium at the Willis Education Center in Delaware. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.