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Augusta Area School District receives $2.5M donation from local woman

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Augusta School District

AUGUSTA (WQOW) - An Augusta woman is helping out her local school district build a new auditorium with a donation of $2.5 million. 

The Augusta Area School District said in a press release that the day after sending a recent community-wide survey asking for them to weigh in on proposed future facility improvement projects, Jennifer Livermore Bethke called the district to pledge the millions needed for a new auditorium. 

Livermore Bethke and her late husband, Victor, graduated from Augusta High School. The district said that Livermore Bethke wants students to have access to high-quality experiences during their time in school and feels a performing arts center will do just that. 

District administrator Ryan Nelson said the state-of-the-art auditorium will primarily serve as a performing arts center for students to have drama classes, theatrical performances, large gatherings, and band and choir concerts, but community members will be welcome to use it as well.

"It's a combination of being incredibly excited, but also with a great deal of gratitude and humbleness as well," Nelson said. "I've gotten to know Jennifer quite well over the last couple years. We are incredibly honored and humbled by the fact that she is willing to support an opportunity for our students at this level."

Administrators want the center to have 400 to 500 seats and tentatively plan to build it on land between the high school and elementary school, next to the high school's gym and pool.

At the moment, the district is still working on hiring an architectural and design firm.

Nelson hopes to have renderings of the auditorium done before the end of the school year.

The project might be paired with an upcoming referendum of improvement projects in November.

As for when ground will be broken, that's still up in the air.

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