An Early High School graduate’s donation to the Early Independent School District will allow for all new stage curtains and a “much needed” light board for the high school’s Student Activity Center.

    “This is an awesome gift,” said EISD Superintendent Brett Koch. “We’re very excited to be able to do this for our kids. This will make a huge difference for our students’ stage and concert productions, but to make these improvements would just not have been in the budget without this gift.”

    Koch said Steve Beal originally made “a generous donation” a couple of years ago with instructions the money should be used “to completely finish” the district’s “Big Room” at its athletic complex. When the “Big Room” project was completed, however, there was money left over.

    Koch said Beal asked the EISD administration and board to present proposals for how the money might be spent and one of the needs for the district was to replace the stage curtains.

    At Monday’s board meeting, trustees opened the lone bid on each job, one for new stage lighting and one for the purchase and installation of the stage curtains. The board also approved the selection of an electrician to complete the necessary upgrades for installing the lighting.

    Total cost will come to a little more than $60,000.

    “The light box the school’s had all these years, the district has been borrowing,” said Board President Pat Mooney. “With this donation, we’ll have state-of-the-art lighting capabilities. This is really a good thing.”

    Koch said he had not been aware of how expensive stage curtains are, or how complicated it is to have them work in coordination with each other.

    “This will be multiple sections, a valance and borders. I’m sure the curtains on the stage now are original with the construction of the school – so they’ve been there about 28 years.”

    Koch said the curtains’ installation and electrical changes would probably be made over the summer. “They’ll be ready at the start of the 2011-’12 school year,” he said.