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Children's Theater relocates performances to Linton Middle School

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 1:37 p.m.

Gateway School District officials this week again planned to consider revising its rental fee policy after protest from some nonprofit groups.

The board was scheduled to vote yesterday, Wednesday, on lowering the rental fee for the high school auditorium from $800 to $300 per hour, plus the cost of district services such as janitors and a site manager.

The vote was expected to take place after this paper's print deadline.

The resolution also instructs administrators to adjust rental fees for other facilities based on an estimate of the district's operational costs.

Pittsburgh International Children's Theater last week announced that it relocated performances to Linton Middle School in the Penn Hills School District, through February 2013, said Diana Roth, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, due to the increased rental cost.

Previously, River City Brass officials announced they would move two performances in November to Beulah Presbyterian Church in Churchill and might not return.

The band will perform multiple concerts this spring in the eastern suburbs, but director James Gourlay said he hasn't decided where those shows will take place.

“We love going to Gateway High School. It's just a matter of these dollars,” Gourlay said.

Representatives of both nonprofit groups have said the rental fee for the high school auditorium of $800 per hour makes the venue unaffordable.

The board increased the rate earlier this year, based on a recommendation from the buildings and grounds committee.

Gourlay said River City Brass might consider returning to Gateway if the school board lowers the rate.

For at least the last 10 years, the group was charged $250 per performance, per an agreement with the school district, Gateway spokeswoman Cara Zanella said.

The group was notified of the increase in September with a letter, Gourlay said.

“There was no explanation,” he said. “I just wish they had spoken to us before making the increase.”

Beulah music director Robert Morehead wouldn't say exactly how much River City Brass is being charged to use the facility.

School director Steve O'Donnell, chairman of the Gateway buildings and grounds committee, said the $800 per hour was based on estimates provided by facilities director Ken Stancliffe and others.

“Taxpayers of Monroeville and Pitcairn should not be subsidizing groups outside of the district,” O'Donnell said.

Gateway school directors also discussed the rental fee for the high school sports complex.

The board was expected to vote this week on a rental request submitted by C.S. Kim Karate for a tournament this spring.

For an update on Wednesday's school board meeting, see www.yourmonroeville.com.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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