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Ceremony marks renovations at theater

First stage production set for this weekend

November 29, 2012
By JESS LOOMAN - Staff correspondent , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Work is over, the bishop has given his blessing and the newly renovated Berkman Theatre at Lanman Hall is ready to host its first stage production this weekend.

Dignitaries from around the community gathered at Catholic Central High School Wednesday to celebrate the renovations, which carried a price tag of $442,000.

According the Rich Wilinski, CCHS principal, a majority of the funding came from the Louis and Sandra Berkman Foundation.

Article Photos

THEATER DEDICATED — Renovations were recently completed on the new Berkman Theatre at Lanman Hall at Catholic Central High School. A dedication ceremony was held Wednesday night with a number of community members on hand as well as school officials. Helping to dedicate the facility were, from left, Paul Ward, diocese administrator of Christian formation and schools; Dolores Michnowicz, CCHS assistant principal; Bishop Jeffrey Monforton; Monsignor Kurt Kemo, vicar general of the Diocese of Steubenville; Monsignor Gerald Calovini, CCHS pastoral administrator; and Rich Wilinski, CCHS principal. - Jess Looman

"The Berkman Foundation funded $385,000 worth of the project," he said. "Thanks to Dolores Michnowicz, who wrote the grant, we received a series of four grants over four years to fund the bulk of the work."

"Each year we applied for a new phase of the grant," Michnowicz explained. "The previous principal had applied for grants, but we never knew we could receive such a big grant. We started applying for the grants in 2008 and received the last grant in 2011."

The project included new paint to the walls and ceiling; stage curtains; updated lighting and sound systems; a finished stage floor; new seating and carpeting; and new handicapped seating.

The hall has a seating capacity of 800, Michnowicz said.

"We currently have 420 seats sponsored," she explained. "We are still accepting funding for the rest of the seats, which cost $200 a piece. Those who purchase a seat in the hall will receive a name plate on the seat. Anyone interested in purchasing a seat can visit the high school."

Wilinski noted that the hall was built in 1951 and "there has not been much work done since then."

"We wanted to be able to provide our fine arts students with a facility to be proud of," he said. "We have some great actors, singers and musicians and they deserve a nice facility to showcase their talent. We also want to be able to provide an arena for the community to hold events."

The first major production will be held this weekend as the junior high school students will perform "Annie Jr."

Paul Ward, diocese administrator of Christian formation and schools. was on hand for the dedication and praised the effort and time put into the renovation.

"After thinking about all of the effort put into the renovation, the time taken to plan out the project, grantwriting, community resources and funding, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes," Ward stated. "Any job worth doing is a job worth doing well.

"You have done this job very, very well," he continued. "Education in the arts, music and performing arts is an essential part of Catholic education and educating the whole person. Teachers can help students develop their God given talents and gifts."

Also on hand for the dedication were Monsignor Gerald Calovini, who gave the opening prayer; Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, who blessed the theater; and Monsignor Kurt Kemo, who provided the closing prayer.

Wilinski also recognized the major contributors who donated more than $500. They include: Craig Allen; the John C. Balzano family; Helen Bender; the Dr. Keith Bravo family; the Michael Carapellotti family; Paul and Dahlia Carapellotti; Albert and Lydia Cellini; Paula Diorio; David and Christine Franklinp Mary Jones,p John T. Maley family; John J. Mascio family; Mascolino and Engle families; Sandy Morelli; David Mosti family; National Colloid Co.; Vincent Oliver Jr.; the Oprisch and Owens families; Leonard Paganelli; Dr. Frank and Eileen Petrola; Anthony Recinella; William Remic; Loretta Seece; David Skiviat family; Mary Slater; Anthony Teramana Jr.; Dr. Nick Trombetta; Fran Zamana; Patricia Zorne; Bishop John King Mussio Central Elementary; Bishop John King Mussio Junior High School; Holy Family Parish; Catholic Central High School Classes of 1951, 1957, 1960, 1961 and 1962; Catholic Central High School 2012 science students; and Steuben Radiology.

"We are very fortunate for this facility and the renovation" Michnowicz added. "We really worked hard to receive this funding. It didn't just happen."

"I want to thank all of the contractors who worked tirelessly to get the work done during the past two years," Wilinski concluded. "We have hit a few bumps in the road, but everything was handled great. We worked on one project at a time, and it's great to see it come together."

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