The Squawk Box

Administration hopes to fix the fieldhouse sound system

By Ethan Stubblefield, Current Staff

If Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in the WBHS fieldhouse, we wouldn’t be reading about it in history books.

Put simply, the problem in the fieldhouse is the sound system. The combination of poor acoustics and obsolete speakers was amplified at the Oct. 19 anti-bullying rally, where BMX athletes visited the school to perform a stunt show and raise awareness of bullying issues. The sound system prevented many students from hearing anything the presenter was saying. The result: a message that needed to be heard was not.

Students were frustrated with the aging system after the presentation. “I would have gotten a lot more out of it if the sound system worked. It was hard to read his lips with a microphone in the way,” East junior Maddie Gogolewski said.

Daniel Sudbrink, another frustrated East junior, noted how the otherwise entertaining rally cemented that change needs to happen. “The acoustics in there are horrible. I don’t know what the solution is, but they have to do something,” Sudbrink said.

The sound was garbled during the anti-bullying assembly in the fieldhouse on Oct. 19.

According to Principal Bill Greymont, there is no exact plan or timetable to do anything about the problem yet, but a joint effort between the school, district maintenance, and the athletic department is addressing the issue. The temporary fix is portable speakers that still leave many muffled areas throughout the fieldhouse, but a more permanent solution is being sought.

With the cost estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars, funding for a new sound system is a large bump in the road to a solution. Greymont said that multiple funding sources are being considered, including fundraising, grants, and writing the sound system into the maintenance budget. Before moving forward, a specific plan and quote from an installation company are needed.

With basketball season right around the corner, WBHS has an opportunity to show visiting schools what kind of place West Bend really is. But will the fieldhouse present East and West High in an attractive way?

“The fieldhouse needs a facelift,” Greymont said.

Sporting a new paint job, the fieldhouse is on the right track but it’s not there yet. Last year’s East varsity boys basketball coach Ryan Tomczyk, now an assistant principal at WBHS, also recognizes the need for improvement.

“As a coach, it was average at best. As an administrator, it’s still very average. But we are talking about it as administrators,” Tomczyk said.

(Photograph by Lauren Sorensen, Editor in Chief.)

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