A New High School Stage with Advanced Lighting Rigs

The school redid the stage in the auditorium. They got a new lighting control box and lighting rig and safety ladders to get to all the rigging. The entire floor was replaced too. It was buckling in some areas making a trip hazard. The cost projection held us up for a while. It is not cheap to put in a new lighting system. It is typical of a stage used for performances. It has the big floodlights, remotely controlled spotlights and the lights with the color gels on them. All of it under the control of the main board in the control booth at the back of the auditorium. The main lighting cable alone cost as much as a decent used car, so you can imagine how much the whole project cost.

The kids raised a lot of money for it on their own through car washes and other fund raisers. They had a couple wealthy alumni of the high school that contributed a lot toward the project. Even the safety ladders had to be custom made. There was no room for stairs to get access to the rigging platforms. The only access was vertical and through fixed safety ladders with outer cages on them to protect against falling backwards off of them.

Litigation is a big deal in any public place. Students need access to change color gels on some of the lighting. Two students are trained each year and have their parents sign waivers. They have to wear safety gear when up on the catwalks and must be at least 17. It took a lot of wrangling to pull that off. The school board was going to make us use maintenance or professional staff do it. That was not feasible. Plus, the kids interested in stage lighting need the experience. The safety ladders make it much safer to get to the rigging. The old way was using tall stepladders.

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