Springfield native, nine-time Grammy winner and current Academy Award nominee John Legend will raise money to support the renovation of the auditorium at the former South High School.
The first opportunity to donate comes through the charity platform Omaze.com where fans can bid on experiences with Legend.
Fans who donate $10 or more to Legend’s Show Me Campaign will be entered for a chance to win a private concert. The more money donated, the more entries for the concert are awarded.
Larger donations from $25 to $25,000 are rewarded with various levels of prizes including T-shirts, autographed song sheets, personalized Valentine’s roses or video toasts from Legend and tickets to a scheduled performance.
The historic South High building is currently undergoing renovations to become home to the Global Impact STEM Academy, the Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Center and Clark State Community College food science and aquaculture labs.
The costs to renovate classroom and lab space is covered by an $11.3 million Ohio Straight A grant, but the auditorium is beyond the scope of the grant, school officials said.
The auditorium project is expected to cost between $1.6 million and $2 million, according to Kim Fish, special project consultant for the district.
Legend, who graduated from North High School, was a supporter of the grant application and has continued conversations with the district about ways to help.
“We will now begin detailed planning so renovation might begin as early as 2016,” Fish said.
Having a private partner with celebrity clout like Legend allows the district to take on projects like the auditorium that the community wants, she said, but also stay within what the community can afford.
“The board of the Springfield City School District shares the goal of restoring this beautiful facility and making it available to students and the community, and we are thrilled that John is stepping up to help us make that happen,” Board of Education President Ed Leventhal said.
The auditorium could be used not only by GISA and Springfield students, but could also become a community media and arts space, Fish said.
“Those students who are doing creative work (through a planned digital media center) would love to have an auditorium,” she said.
The space could also be used for professional development for teachers in the four consortium districts involved in the Straight A Grant — Springfield, Clark-Shawnee Local Schools, Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center and the Global Impact STEM Academy.
When it opens in August, the CareerConnectED Center will provide a wide range of opportunities for students and community members to pursue career and college options with the support of mentors and teachers.
“We sincerely appreciate John’s continued interest in youth and in expanding their opportunities in the arts,” Superintendent David Estrop said.
Estrop and Fish will make a presentation to the school board at its Feb. 12 meeting about initial plans for the auditorium project.
For more information on the Show Me Campaign fundraiser visit omaze.com/legend.
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