OGDEN -- The dollars to restore Ogden High School are coming in -- about 7 million of them -- but more are needed to get the job done.
Major renovation work is under way at OHS these days -- the old auditorium is unrecognizable, full of scaffolding, construction workers and clanging metal.
Although the completion date of spring 2011 seems far off, much work needs to be done to make the south end of the school seismically safe and completely renovated with all the new technology needed for high school students.
Several levels of renovation are taking place in the auditorium right now, said Tim Sobotka, project superintendent for Hughes Construction, the North Salt Lake company doing the work.
The biggest priority now is the asbestos abatement, which includes using a water treatment.
"Protecting the historic elements is the most difficult thing," Sobotka said.
Before abatement begins, workers put three layers of protection between the ornate arts and crafts design on the walls and the main part of the auditorium.
All seats have been removed, catalogued and placed in special storage to be restored and reused.
"Everyone has a different definition of restoration," Sobotka said.
His company has been working hand in hand with architects to make sure the restoration and preservation are exact, but also to bring things up to modern standards and make the auditorium seismically secure.
Five-inch holes have been drilled though the perimeter of the building, and a special resin grout has been put in the holes to improve seismic stability.
Layers of rebar also are being installed from top to bottom of the facility, about 65 feet, for more seismic protection.
Major adjustments also are being done to the stage.
"The stage has essentially been gutted. There will be new lighting, sound, curtains, and everything will be secured for fire protection," Sobotka said as he showed the stage area filled with dirt.
"There is a lot going on. It's action-packed around here," he said. "It will all be done, top to bottom, from the ground to the terra cotta caps."
Another renovation project is being done with money from a school bond and is expected to be completed at the same time as the auditorium.
Science labs, dance studios, music rooms, drama facilities and a band room will be where the old gymnasium once stood.
"I think this shows a great example of public and private partnerships," said Janis Vause, director of the Ogden School Foundation.
She is raising funds for the capital campaign to specifically restore the auditorium and replace the windows.
She has been impressed with the way the community not only voted to pass the bond to rebuild other parts of the school but also is digging deeper to fund the auditorium restoration.
"It's amazing, given the economy. I'm really just dumbfounded," Vause said. "It just shows how much the community values this historic icon."
At a recent school board meeting, the Weber County Heritage Foundation donated to the capital campaign all of its proceeds -- about $10,000 -- from last spring's historic home tour.
Vause said she was very impressed with the donation coming from a nonprofit group.
"This is really special because this is their big fundraiser for the year, and for them to give all of it to us is really quite something," she told the school board.
The foundation board couldn't think of a better place to put the money, said board member Bonnie Galbraith.
"It's an extremely valuable building to the entire state, or even the United States," she said.
The group has donated money to other historic building projects over the years, but never the entire proceeds as it did in this case.
Vause is hoping to reach more people, because $2 million more still is needed to complete the work.
"With 35,000 alumni out there, I know there is more money that can be brought in," she said. "When I look at the donor list, we only have about 700 different donors. There are still a lot more out there."
While the auditorium project will be completed, other finishing touches, such as replacing the rest of the windows in the entire school with architecturally matching ones, may be left undone if funds run short.
"It is such a gift to be able to do this. We just need a little more," Vause said.
For more information about donating, visit the OHS capital campaign Web site at www.restoreogdenhigh.org or on Facebook at restore Ogden High.