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Fine arts practice and performance space upgrades part of bond proposal

Del City High School’s band performs at the school performing arts center last year. Photo Provided

Editor’s Note: This is the third part in a series of articles about projects included in Mid-Del School District’s upcoming $492 million bond proposal. The election is set for Oct. 10.

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Fine arts programs at Mid-Del Schools could see a big boost in the upcoming bond issue.

District officials are looking to upgrade practice and performance spaces and purchase new equipment and uniforms for the performing arts.

The $492 million bond election is set for Oct. 10. School officials project that the nearly 20-year bond issue will increase property taxes by $2.75 per month for a house valued at $150,000.

The biggest part of the fine arts projects includes building a performing arts addition at Midwest City and Del City high schools.

At Midwest City High School, band and orchestra practice in a building that is across the parking lot. That requires students to walk to and from the school and transport musical instruments.

“We want to bring them in closer so they’re under a roof for as much of the day as possible,” said superintendent Rick Cobb. “That’s part of safety and having a secure perimeter. The more you have kids walking outside between buildings, the less secure the perimeter is.”

If approved, the performing arts addition will be built in a courtyard area between the south end of the high school and the Performing Arts Center. The new building will house all the performing arts programs and connect to the PAC. It will also double as a storm shelter.

The choir program is currently located in a room near the main office.

“I think it’s going to really unify the campus,” Cobb said.

At Del City High School, the choir and drama programs are currently located near the PAC. The band and orchestra programs practice in a separate building near the football field.

The proposed addition will be built next to the PAC and serve as a storm shelter. It will also improve the aesthetic of the front of the building along Sunnylane Rd.

“When you drive by and see the Performing Arts Center it’s one of the best-looking building fronts we have in the district,” Cobb said.

Carl Albert High School will receive additional practice space and storage as part of a classroom addition. A new band room was added in the 2017 bond issue. Carl Albert is the only school where all of the performing arts programs are housed together.

“They received a new band room last time, but what they’re short on right now is space for equipment storage, practice room and another type of rehearsal space that would help us with the orchestra,” Williams said.

Cobb said they don’t have any plans for the current Del City and Carl Albert band rooms. He said the Del City building could be incorporated into the football field. The district is also considering repurposing the Midwest City building for a district-wide purpose such as an e-sports facility. No formal plans have been approved.

The performing arts centers at all three high schools will get a boost.

The proposed project includes replacing all of the seating that is more comfortable and ADA compliant. The lighting and sound system will be upgraded.

“The front of the stage is pretty dark, so we’re going to add new lights to the front of the stage for when a student is featured or we have a speaker,” said Diana Williams, instructional facilitator for fine arts.

Mid-Del upgraded the theaters in the 2017 bond issue. They expanded the lobbies, replaced the currents, remodeled some interior spaces, and bought new sound boards.

“It’s a lot better than it was six years ago,” Cobb said.

The upgrades to the PACs are expected to cost about $1.7 million each.

The bond proposal includes $3.4 million for recurring costs such as uniforms and equipment. The district added orchestra uniforms a few years ago.

“When our kids in band, orchestra or choir are performing, having a uniform look is very important,” Cobb said. “And there’s always a need for equipment and stage equipment in drama.”

Marching band, color guard, winter guard and JROTC students will benefit from planned indoor multi-purpose facilities that are planned for all three high schools.

If the bond issue is approved, Cobb said he hopes to have all the construction projects completed within three years. Lighting and sound improvements at the PACs could be completed within the first year.

Plans for a performing arts addition at Midwest City High School that is included in the upcoming bond proposal. image provided

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