The Westby Area School District will be holding a dedication program for the Westby Area Performing Arts Center (WAPAC) on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m.

The Program will include band and choir musical selections including district alumni. Deputy State Superintendent Mike Thompson will be in attendance to give the main address. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony involving representatives from Coon Valley, Chaseburg, and Westby, as well as elementary students who will help cut the ribbon. Following the program, tours of the facility will be available to those in attendance.

This is a free ticketed event, but if you plan to attend you must reserve a seat. Go to the Westby Area School District website at www.westby-norse.org—click on WAPAC and you will find instructions on how to secure your tickets. The public can go online directly to wacap.ludus.com to reserve a seat or the WAPAC Facebook page.

Music Director Kory Dahlen said reserving seats will be a learning process for everyone involved and asked for patience as they work out all the kinks. He said the website is easy to use and the site will be used for reserving seats and tickets for almost all events held in the new auditorium.

“Throughout this entire process I have had to pinch myself many times just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. The facility looks amazing and will provide the community with a completely new way to enjoy all the talented performers we are blessed with in this area,” Dahlen said.

The Fine Arts Foundation of the Westby Area President Linda Dowling said the organization is very excited to see the Westby Area Performing Arts Center become a reality.

“It is with appreciation and thanks to the community and supporters that we look forward to the dedication of the Westby Area Performing Arts Center on Feb. 11. The dedication promises to be an enjoyable day for everyone from tours to musical presentations,” Dowling said.

Westby Area School District Choir Director Peter Engh said the school district is anxiously anticipating the opening of the new Westby Area Performing Arts Center.

“I remember starting the discussion of Performing Arts Center with a small group of people back in 1997. Many people thought it was not possible, but the people in this community kept sticking with it. Without you, this would not have happened,” Engh said..

In April 2016, voters in the Westby Area School District approved a referendum allowing the school district to borrow $2,995,000 for the construction of a WAPAC, but the actual groundbreaking didn’t take place until May 2017.

The construction project has had to overcome several hurdles, the biggest following the bidding process which rocketed to more than one half million dollars over budget. With referendum funding locked and the projects costs coming in over budget FAFWA agreed to front the initial $400,000 needed to keep the project moving forward. The additional $150,000-$200,000 in cost saving needed to get the project back on track were generated through value engineered savings.

The new WAPAC facility seats 475, including plus six handicapped spaces. The stage is large enough for 100 piece band and has a approximately 38 foot fly space.

In the front of the stage when a performance requires the use of a pit band the area is large enough to accommodate a normal sized pit band. When the pit area is not in use it is covered extending the stage area.

Lighting and sound equipment has significant upgrades from anything the school district has used in the past. A full lighting booth and sound patio, complete with a screen and projector, are located in the back of the auditorium.

Westby Area High School District Band Director Monte Dunnum expressed his gratitude for the new building.

“We look forward to the future opportunities this facility will allow for both our students and community. Thanks for the support of this project,” Dunnum said.

For any further information please contact the Westby Area School District Office at 608-634-0101.

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Westby Times editor

Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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