A $550,000 donation from Potlatch No. 1 Financial Credit Union secured the naming rights of the auditorium at the new Lewiston High School and will allow the facility to be fully equipped with everything needed to put on high-quality performances.
The donation for what will be called the P1FCU Performing Arts Center was approved unanimously by the Lewiston School Board on Monday afternoon during a special meeting.
“This is rare, almost unheard of, (for public school districts) to accept private donations for construction and naming rights, particularly the donations we’ve accepted and the size and magnitude of those,” school board President Brad Rice said. “We, as a district, are incredibly grateful for the generosity. ... We can’t say thank you enough.”
It’s the second time in less than a year that the school board has accepted a donation with naming rights for portions of the new school, which is currently under construction in the Lewiston Orchards.
In September, the board received a $2 million donation from Brien, Shelly and Patricia DeAtley for what will be called the A. Neil DeAtley Career Technical Education Center, which will be housed near the high school.
Chris Loseth, the president and CEO of P1FCU, said the $550,000 donation will be paid in annual installments over a period of 20 years.
The current high school on Normal Hill, according to Loseth, was built in 1928 for $214,000. At the time of construction, Loseth said the building was an architectural marvel.
“We’re happy that 91 years later, we are able to help,” Loseth said.
The credit union chose the auditorium because it will be a central focal point of the school. It will be located off of the commons area that will feature the main entrances into the school. The 18,400-square-foot auditorium will have enough seating for about 1,000 people.
“We want to be part of the ongoing future of the school with the permanent naming rights of the center that’s going to have thousands of people from the area come to it for different presentations, different musicals and theatrical productions, in addition to all the student activity,” Loseth said, adding the naming rights are a great honor for the credit union.
Superintendent Bob Donaldson said the donation will allow the facility to be equipped with everything needed for its performances. That’ll include curtains, an equipment package for backstage, as well as needed items for the orchestra pit.
“These are things in the long run we might have been able to acquire. ... Now, we are going to be able to finish that piece of our facility at such a high standard,” Donaldson said. “It’s going to be to the benefit of not only the students of Lewiston, but also community members who are in our auditorium.”
According to the adopted resolution, the donation must be used exclusively for the completion of the auditorium.
The new high school is set to open in fall of 2020.
Tomtas may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.