Folding chairs providing seating for a capacity audience was only part of the extra work necessary to present Oklahoma’s sweepstakes-winning vocal music department’s spring concert Monday at the Assembly of God Church.
Music department and school officials also had to spend additional time moving and setting up risers and equipment to modify the church sanctuary for the concert and a reception. Across town, fifth-grade vocal students performed for a standing-room-only audience in the school cafetorium with the prospect that they would have another full house Tuesday night for the elementary youngsters.
All of this extra work is simply due to the fact that the Lone Grove school district doesn’t have adequate performance facilities for its musical and other extra-curricular events.
Space — or the lack of it — is a problem for vocal music, speech and band presentations since there’s no auditorium on school grounds large enough to accommodate parents and patrons. The outdated intermediate school facility barely accommodates 340 students in grades three to five. School officials hope to resolve the problem by including an auditorium in the $9,975,000 long-range building program going to district voters on a May 13 ballot.
“Our vocal music, speech and band are among some of the best programs in the state,” Superintendent Gary Scott said. “A new auditorium would give all three organizations and other school groups a facility for their performances.
“An auditorium would also allow an adequate facility for elementary students to perform their end-of-the-year programs,” he said.
As proposed in the bond package, the school board has set aside $2.3 million for a 600-seat auditorium attached to the gymnasium located immediately west of the high school band room. Those additions are part of a four-phase program designed by Corner+Ness Architects and approved by the school board following an extended study of needs before being adopted as a building program. The relocated high school campus and band room were completed as the first phase of a $4.7 million package approved by voters four years ago. This part was completed on schedule and paid in five years. A final payment next year will retire that bond.
As adopted, the bond package makes a $2.2 million project for an elementary classroom addition the top priority. Along with the classrooms, this phase will include (but isn’t limited to) computer labs, art and a teacher work/conference room. Additional primary/intermediate-level projects will include remodeling buildings and expanding the elementary cafeteria. With voter approval of the bond package, school officials expect to start the work in January 2009.
The gymnasium is a $5.4 million program to construct a facility accommodating upwards of 1,500 spectators with chairback seating, an expanded campus and public parking area.
Scott said the auditorium construction is expected to begin in January 2011. The bond issue will not increase property taxes for households and businesses in the district. The financing package will pay out in nine years based on a time line that extends through July 2017 following the planned 2009 bond sale.
“We can complete all three phases of the proposal without raising taxes,” Scott said.
The bond package will require a 60-percent voter approval for passage. The $4,975,000 bond issue approved in May 2004 was approved by 72 percent of the voters.