Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

McLouth school expansion on tap

Band, vocal programs to benefit from fine arts wing

May 9, 2007

For years students taking band classes in the Mclouth schools have been finding it harder and harder to find a place to practice.

But by the start of the next school year, relief will be coming as McLouth schools will be getting a brand new fine arts wing.

"We had programs that had outgrown existing space," said Jean Rush, McLouth Schools Superintendent. "The classroom for the band, when I came, had approximately 24 students. We are now approaching 70. They could no longer practice and have class in the room constructed for the band."

The more than $1.03 million expansion, funded through a lease and purchase program, will add 5,000 square feet to the school and will be built on the west side of the existing band room. The new structure will be split into two rooms, one for choir and one for band.

Jerome Johnson, who is in his seventh year of teaching band at the school, said he and his students were thrilled at the thought of a new band room.

"We will have the ability to lock up our instruments and a better way of taking care of our things," he said.

Johnson recently had to move his fifth through 12th grade band class from the band room to the auditorium to get more practice room. He said the construction couldn't go fast enough and he couldn't wait to move into the new room.

"It's going to be a huge success for the school," he said.

The expansion also will allow the choir program to move out of the band room, where it is currently practicing. It also will allow the choir program to leave the memories of having to practice in the school's basement far behind.

"Our choir program has had to bounce around to some different rooms; this will be more of a centralized location for the choir program," said John Hamon, secondary principal at the school.

In addition, the expansion will make space for the school to move its K-12 art class to a more centralized location.

"It made sense to put the fine arts together and open up the rooms they were in so we could keep the math and science together," Rush said.

Once the fine arts classes have moved into their new wing, more classroom space will open up and any "additional classroom space will help the district," Hamon said.

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