Lease agreement approved through school district and organization that owns New London theater

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board approved a two-year lease agreement for the New London Little Theatre at the regular Monday meeting.

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board approved a two-year lease agreement for the New London Little Theatre at the regular Monday meeting.

Under the agreement with the Crow River Players -- the non-profit organization that owns the theater -- the school district will pay $14,200 per year for the use of the theater for staging school plays and performances. The agreement is for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years.

Before unanimously approving the lease agreement, the board heard comments from two sophomore drama students.

"The Little Theatre is a second home for me. It's a whole other world," said Anna Johnson. "Many of us (drama students) say if there wasn't a good theater program here, we would move schools."

Student Christine Foreman explained to the board that she has learned confidence on the acting stage. "I become myself, not quiet like I am in school," she said.


"Without the program, many of the younger generation will not get that experience."

Julie Joplin, president of the Crow River Players, outlined that the group intends to maintain the downtown New London building for use by the school for plays and performances and also intends to help build community support for the arts.

The players group had notified the school board in August that it no longer wished to operate the 1921-vintage theater due to lack of funds and lack of membership within the group. Since then, the organization has been reorganized and rejuvenated by new membership.

The group has had numerous meetings with the board's building and grounds subcommittee, drama students and parents. During those meetings, the discussion lead to the school paying more of the operating costs for the theater, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson. Eventually, the $14,200 figure was agreed upon.

The school had leased the theater for an annual sum of $3,000 for the past eight years. In 1997 and 1998, a community project performed $100,000 of improvements to the aging building, saving it from condemnation.

The board was following the recommendation of its building and grounds subcommittee. Board member Michael O'Brien noted that he attended a performance of the fall play, "Frankenstein" and was impressed.

"I was blown away by the talent," he said. I was waiting for the next act, but there wasn't one."

In other action, the board:


n Canvassed and certified the Nov. 7 election of board members Dan DeGeest, Helena Lungstrom, Robert Moller, Holli Cogelow-Ruter and Michael O'Brien. They will begin their new terms in January. DeGeest, Lungstrom, Moller and Cogelow-Ruter will serve four-year terms and O'Brien will serve a two-year term.

n Approved the school's bus contract with Russell's Bus Service for this school year. The contract agrees to pay the bus service $436.39 per student for transportation to and from school each day. The contract is for 1,585 students and is for $691,678 for the year.

n Set the district's Truth in Taxation hearing for Monday, Dec. 4.

What To Read Next
Get Local