Cedar Mill
Community Website

Search the Cedar Mill News:

About The
Cedar Mill News

Volume 15, Issue 8
August 2017


“Play a role” in renovating Sunset’s theatre!
By Kathy Campbell

Whether it is a lively song and dance number, a dynamic jazz interpretation, or a dramatic or funny scene from a contemporary or classic drama, Sunset High School students have taken to the stage and entertained and delighted Cedar Mill residents for decades. But all that “treading the boards” by students has worn the capabilities of the Sunset High School Auditorium. After nearly 60 years of use, the auditorium is showing its age and is long overdue for equipment and facility upgrades such as sound, flooring, seats, paint and other repairs and improvements needed to make the facility more functional and safe.

The worn theatre floor.

Local parents and community members are launching the “Play a Role” capital campaign to raise at least $170,000 to refurbish the auditorium over the next two years to upgrade the school’s auditorium to the level of other high schools in the Beaverton School District. As of May 2017, a $20,000 fund was started with proceeds from the 2017 spring musical, “Mary Poppins,” and with a generous donation from the Sunset PTO organization. However, more funds are needed to improve the quality of this important community venue. Sunset students, families, alumni, local businesses, and the surrounding community will have the opportunity to help build a fund that will supplement Beaverton School District bond funds.

The “Play A Role” fundraising campaign was launched in late July and will run through the end of December. Similar to a “buy a brick” program, potential donors have four sponsorship options: “Artist”, “Director”, “Producer” and “Executive Producer” sponsor levels will be available for donations of $100, $500, $1000 or $5,000, respectively. The “Artist” level has 800 spaces available, representing the 800 seats in the auditorium, while the other levels are unlimited. Each giving level will receive an engraving on a donor wall in the shape of the auditorium seating chart that will be placed in the lobby. Donations of any amount are welcome and can be made by going to the link on Sunset High School website under “School Highlights” at

Well loved, well used

The Sunset Auditorium is a very busy place. The auditorium was booked for nearly 50 events in the past year in addition to daily use as a classroom for the theater program. Sunset High School currently has over 500 students (nearly 22%) enrolled in performing arts classes. 86 students were involved in the cast, crew and orchestra of the 2017 spring musical, “Mary Poppins.” Sunset theater, choir and band performances were a little less than half of the auditorium bookings. Almost half of the bookings were for other Sunset school activities (such as National Honor Society, Curriculum Night, Senior Awards Night, etc.). Additionally, local middle schools and the Beaverton School District hold events such as concerts, graduations and college planning nights in the auditorium.

This fundraising effort is necessary to fill the gap for projects that do not qualify for bond funds. In 2015, the Beaverton School District provided bond funds to upgrade Sunset auditorium’s electrical and stage lighting system at a cost of nearly $800,000. A second phase is expected to prioritize safety and building code issues. The top priority projects for the fundraising effort are purchasing a new sound system and enlarging the sound booth to be able to hold the new equipment. Other projects include updating the set construction shop space, the dressing rooms, and the costume storage area.

Projects such as replacement of the stage floor, repairing broken seats and installing a climate control system are awaiting funding on the Beaverton School District’s project list. The District hoped to replace the stage floor this summer with current bond funds but was unable to find available contractors as of early July.

Seating the audience

A future bond or additional fundraising will be required to replace the auditorium’s aging seats. They are nearly all from the original 1959 installation and have not been repaired since the mid-1990’s. Over 23% of the seats need some type of repair such as replacing missing armrests, fixing worn out cushions, and repairing seats that no longer automatically retract. The District maintenance team tried to fix some of them during the summer, but found it quite difficult given their age and design. A full replacement of all the seats, estimated to be in the $400,000 to $500,000 range, is not included in the current bond and would need to be considered for a future District bond. While seat replacement is not part of the current “Play a Role” fundraising target, if corporate sponsors or private donors were to step forward with donations large enough to replace the seats sooner, this project could move up on the timeline.

Climate control

If you have ever attended a performance at Sunset on a warm day, you probably know how uncomfortable the temperature can get if you are sitting in the audience—can you imagine how hot it gets if you are a student performing on stage in costume or running the lighting up in the loft above the audience? The same goes for chilly days—dressing in layers is highly recommended! Sunset is the only high school in the District without a climate control system in its auditorium. The District is looking at options for improving airflow in the auditorium but is not able to fund the estimated $300,000 for a new climate control system from the current bond and will be looking to a future bond to include this along with other district-wide air conditioning and heating needs for various facilities. Again, this project could move up on the timeline if one or more major donors were willing to cover the costs.

The Sunset Performing Arts programs are a wonderful creative outlet for students who enjoy putting on performances and playing music for the local community. Students who may not feel like they connect with other groups can find a home with the band, choir and theater programs. They work very hard to put on these shows and deserve a facility that helps them showcase their talents and put on their best performances well into the future.

Please visit the school or contact for more information! You may also request to join the Friends of Sunset Theater Google Group so you can receive notifications about donating to the Friends of Sunset Theater, joining the Capital Campaign Committee, news about future performances and events. Cedar Mill has many talented student performers so please help us improve our outdated and worn facilities by becoming a Friend of Sunset Theater today!

Previous article


Next article

Sign Up Now to receive
The Cedar Mill News by email each month

fb like
Like us on Facebook for timely updates

Cedar Mill News
Past Issues

Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2017