What about the Castle's 'Dudgeon' auditorium?
The Castle on the Hill Apartments auditorium will be run separately by a nonprofit organization. (Staff photo by Jerry Mennenga)

The non-profit, Castle on the Hill Association, which has long worked to save old the Central High School, will remain involved in the redeveloped building.

It sold the castle to NuStyle for $1, the same price it originally paid to take possession of it in the 1970s. Under a new arrangement, the association will lease back the auditorium and the old gymnasium, dubbed "The Dudgeon," to rent them out for community functions.

"We are working very closely with NuStyle to make them available to the community at affordable prices," said Caroline Conkey, new president of the association's 14-member board and a 1964 Central grad.

NuStyle will bring both spaces up to code, adding sprinklers, appropriate exits and air exchange systems, then clean and paint them. After that, the association must do the refurbishing, such as adding a new stage curtain, redoing the auditorium chairs and solving acoustical problems in the gym.

Conkey said the board is putting together a plan to bring life back into both spaces. (The castle's other large space, the lunchroom, will be private, providing storage space for tenants.)

Conkey said the association will maintain its office, a Castle on the Hill gift shop and a Central High alumni hall of fame in the castle, "So when alumni come back they will still have that passion for the building.

"It's spewing with history," she said. "I guess you'd call it ambiance."

Conkey predicted the newly renovated castle will be good for the surrounding neighborhood.

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