The old saying often goes, “Out with the old and in with the new,” but in the case of the old Blair Auditorium Project, bringing the old back is definitely better.
The Montgomery Blair High School opened in 1969 to welcome hundreds of students from the Silver Spring, MD area. Thirty years later, in 1999, the school board decided to close the high school, renovate the building to become an elementary and middle school and board up the auditorium.
“The auditorium was such a major part of the community that leaders within the Silver Spring community immediately stepped up and tried everything to keep it open,” Stuart Moore, president of the board of directors of the Old Blair Auditorium Project Inc., said.
The Old Blair Auditorium Project Inc. is a non-profit residents group dedicated to renovating the facility. The non-profit group also handles all of the fundraising and building logistics for the upcoming Blair Auditorium Re-Open Project.
The group was formed in 2004 in hopes of raising awareness throughout the community to reopen the auditorium, yet it was almost six years later before the Montgomery County Council acknowledged the project.
Numerous council members were on board for the project including, Valerie Ervin, who proposed the community oriented multi-use solution and pressed for full funding. On May 27, 2010, the Montgomery County Council voted to formally establish the Old Blair Auditorium Re-Open project.
Prior to the acknowledgement from the county council, in 2005, a $600,000 state bond bill was awarded to Old Blair Auditorium Project Inc. However, the bond is contingent upon the county matching the $600,000 in its Capital Improvements Program for 2011 to 2016.
“This project is special to everyone; once the building planning is done the auditorium will be a bit smaller from its original 1200 seat structure, but it will be available to serve the Silver Spring community like no other community facility,” Moore said.
According to Moore, the new building will house a 750-seat auditorium, four adjacent multi-purpose rooms and an elevator to provide accessible access to the second floor multi-purpose rooms.
The entire reopening process has taken longer than usual, but the entire board is excited about the progress thus far and looks forward to welcoming the ‘New” Blair Auditorium to Silver Spring, MD.