Back in the mid-1990s, when Traverse City Area Public Schools voters overwhelmingly approved a bond issue to build a new west-side high school, it was widely understood - not happily, in some quarters - that the new school would have lots of things the old building did not.
New classrooms, new science labs, new athletic fields, new everything. One of the most significant differences was the auditorium. West’s performing arts and public gathering area was top of the line for its time, and is still a premiere place to catch a musical or listen to a chorale group or jazz band.
And while there were never promises of parity, there was an expectation that, when possible, there would be attempts to create equity between the two schools.
On Nov. 5 voters have a chance to fulfill part of that expectation by approving a .09-mill, $13 million proposal to renovate Central High School’s down-at-the-heels auditorium.
Right now, the seating is atrocious and the lighting is essentially non-existent. The auditorium is too small for gatherings and musical performances. Despite the shortcomings, TC Central students still produce great music and performances.
This isn’t gravy. Nearly 50 percent of TCAPS students participate in programs in the arts and the district is known across the country for its superior music and performance programs. Quality facilities count.
It’s time for voters to fulfill the unspoken promise of equity and approve the bond issue; it will cost the owner of a home with a market value of $200,000 a paltry $9 a year. Central students deserve it, and now’s the time.