PARDEEVILLE — Nobody needs to tell Michael Haynes or Gus Knitt that May 4 is a big deal for Pardeeville.
It’s when Pardeeville Area School District and Miron Construction unveil a new auditorium with open houses, special ceremonies and live music performances from the The Duttons, a music group from Branson, Missouri.
It’s also when members of the community and many returning alumni populate the city’s streets, earlier that day, for the student-led Bulldog Stomp run/walk, which raises money for cancer research.
It’s a day that seemingly everyone in town is waiting for.
“Quite honestly, it’s emotional,” said Haynes, a member of the Pardeeville Bulldog Support Foundation that raised more than $400,000 for the school district’s 35,000-square-foot auditorium — an addition to the high school that also features new band and choir rooms and district offices.
Anticipation of the project’s completion is as high as it’s ever been, locally, and it reminds Haynes of when Pardeeville unveiled its track and football stadium in 2006 — another big undertaking of his foundation, he said.
“I just remember a lot of adults crying — the kids with tears in their eyes,” Haynes said. “I can just imagine, in my mind, that this will be of similar experience for everyone, especially for those in the fine arts programs.”
Pardeeville Area School District voters had approved the $11.9 million construction referendum in April 2017, a referendum, which, in addition to the auditorium, included major remodeling and renovations to the high school/middle school building. Groundbreaking for construction occurred a year later.
Of seeing the project nearly completed, Superintendent Gus Knitt said: “It’s just reflective of the ideas and the vision of the people in this community, the support the foundation was able to generate for this project and really, the community’s continued support for education, in general.
“It’s just exciting to be part of a community that’s able to take a dream and make it reality.”
Miron’s Vice President of Education, Craig Uhlenbrauck, said Wednesday that only exterior landscaping and paving need to be finished for the project.
The district, he added, will officially take occupancy of the auditorium beginning in the week of April 29.
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“It went very well,” Uhlenbrauck said. “The project stayed on schedule and on budget throughout the process.”
During peak times of construction, the project involved 60 workers or more on site every day, and nearly a third of the subcontractors and suppliers resided within a 30-mile radius of Pardeeville, Uhlenbrauck said.
“That is very important to Miron because we always strive to keep as much of the work local as possible,” he said.
May 4 auditorium events will be held in twos to accommodate what Pardeeville expects will be a big turnout, Knitt said. Open houses for the auditorium will be held at 2 and 6 p.m., the dedication ceremonies will be at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., and The Duttons perform at the conclusion of both ceremonies, at 4 and 7 p.m.
Tickets for The Duttons performances will be made available, for free, to Pardeeville Area School District residents beginning Tuesday in the high school cafeteria.
The family band, which plays country, classical, modern pop music and more, has performed at least 10 times for Miron at the conclusion of projects such as Pardeeville’s, Uhlenbrauck said.
Miron has completed more than 25 auditoriums for school districts and in higher education over the past 20 years, the majority of which were built in Wisconsin, he added.
“The nice thing about this group,” Uhlenbrauck said of The Duttons, “is they appeal to the whole family — from little kids, up to grandpa and grandma. It’s such a variety of music, and a really nice way to kick off the auditorium.”
For more information about how and when to acquire tickets for The Duttons or for more information about other events scheduled for the auditorium in the spring and summer, visit pardeeville.k12.wi.us.