Responding to a mid-October failure of the lighting system at the Performing Arts Center at Johnstown-Monroe High School, the local community has donated more than $8,000 toward repairs.

Responding to a mid-October failure of the lighting system at the Performing Arts Center at Johnstown-Monroe High School, the local community has donated more than $8,000 toward repairs.

The board of education accepted Monday night donations of $2,000 from Margie West, $5,000 from AMK Services, $500 from Heartland Bank, and additional donations from Key Properties, Northeast Suburban Real Estate, Downtown Johnstown and Kasson Manor Sales and Repair.

"It does amaze me in these economic times a lot of people come forward," said Superintendent Damian Bawn. "We've had some sizable donations and then some smaller donations that add up to a sizable amount."

Bawn said the lighting system has served the district well but finally gave out.

"The low voltage control system just wore out," Bawn said. "It took a couple of controllers with it, both those in the room for the house lights, and also the light control board that controls the stage lights."

The lighting system failure forced postponement until spring of the annual Cabaret, which typically raises about $5,000 for the choir, and it threatened to postpone the Varsity Show fundraiser for the band.

Bawn said the contractor was able to make some repairs quickly, and then he installed some of his own equipment to tide the school over and allow the Varsity Show to go on.

"He put some of his own equipment in temporarily so we could have the lights on for the Varsity Show a few weekends ago," Bawn said. "We didn't have all the lights on, but it was enough to do the show. And we can actually use the room for the ordinary things the school uses it for."

Bawn said the final repairs should be done in the next week or two, in time for any upcoming Christmas events.

"We're doing the repair right away, and then take a careful look at what boards are available," Bawn said. "This system lasted 25 years or so, and we'd like it to last that long again. All together, we're expecting it to cost a little bit less than $20,000. It's a good chunk of money.

"We have donations so far totaling $8,150, and I believe we'll be getting a few more donations in. We're still out there beating the bushes."

Bawn said the district has a goal of developing a capital plan that will allow for savings to replace aging capital equipment and buildings, but in some instances it makes sense to use equipment until it fails.