Regent School was resurrected Friday night.
It came back to life with ghouls, zombies, torture chambers, witches and even a busload of skeletons.
Thanks to Gary Greff.
By Brad Mosher
The man who has built an Enchanted Highway into Regent turned his attention to the closed school right next door to his Enchanted Castle which had been a part of the former school campus years before.
The School of Terror got off to a good start, Greff said.
“It went great…. better than I expected,” he said, noting that about 125 people paid for admission on the opening night. “I thought if we got over a hundred we’d be happy and it was better than what I expected.”
Saturday night attendance was even better with Greff saying that more than 150 people visited the newly “spook-i-fied” school.
Greff said he heard a lot of positive comments about the visitors had gone to school over the first weekend. The school will be open Friday and Saturday, followed by Halloween night and Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 before it will go dark again for almost a year.
“The comments were nothing but good and that they were impressed with it,” Greff said. “They said it was worth their time and their money.”
After the visitors signed waivers and paid admission in the former school gymnasium, they followed a glowing rope past several skulls mounted along the walkway before getting to the actual entrance.
They had to pass a school bus full of skeletons and go to the door where lightning flashed on the outside of the building.
Inside, they had to wait inside with Freddie Kruger checking them out in one corner and a witch giving them an evil eye before they could start going up a creaky flight of stairs with the sounds of screams in front of them.
Some had to follow a zombie guide up the steps. Others made their own way.
The fact that the school was not being used prompted Greff to come up with an idea of how to use it again, he explained. “It hadn’t been used for 10 years.”
He already looks at the “School of Terror” as a success and is looking forward to to coming up with the Oct. 2020 version. “A lot of people enjoy the Halloween experience,” he said. “People are willing to travel for the Halloween scene especially when it is a good program or good presentation.
“Why not go with it. It seems to be the ‘in’ thing. People seem to like and enjoy it,” Greff said, noting that he decided to give it a shot.
The school will be open for five more nights, including Halloween night. “We are trying to score everybody. We want to give everybody a nice thrill.”
Greff said the goal is to limit people to groups of three or four. “That way, we can give them the ultimate experience. It makes it a better experience for them.
“We found out that a group of eight or nine, we found out is too much. After the first night, we learned what worked best.”
The “School of Terror” will return in 2020 even better, Greff said. “We are going to improve upon it. We have other ideas to get ready for next year. Next year, we are going to make it better.”
The staff in the school behind the masks and scenes has also increased. The school started off with about 15. “We are going to have about 20 to 30,” he added.
Some come from Mott-Regent and New England high schools, including members of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), he said.
There may be future changes in store for the school building, according to Greff. “We are looking at turning it into the worlds largest ‘escape room,’” he explained.
“Escape rooms are a big thing now. We are going to use the whole floor. You go into an escape room and you get clues to find your way out,” he explained.