Performing arts center coming to MHS

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Performing arts center coming to MHS

Supt. Ward says the performing arts center will be built between Panther Arena and the softball field.

Supt. Ward says the performing arts center will be built between Panther Arena and the softball field.

Supt. Ward says the performing arts center will be built between Panther Arena and the softball field.

Supt. Ward says the performing arts center will be built between Panther Arena and the softball field.

Mikayla Sandusky, Journalist

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There is energetic chatter filling the air as the seats in the theatre begin to fill. The musicians in the orchestra pit warm-up, deep tones filling the room. Conversation surrounds the room, excitement in the voices of the supporters of the arts. The performers backstage prepare to make magic on the stage. The lights begin to dim, and as they do the voices slowly fade. The curtain rises for the first production in the new performing arts center.

These imaginings will soon become reality as Magnolia School District voters Sept. 19 approved spending $20.6 million on various projects, including construction of a new performing arts center on the high school campus. At present all high school performances take place at the junior high auditorium. Supt. John Ward said construction on the new facility will begin in either June or July and that it will be located behind Panther Arena.

Ward said the new facility will be used for band and choir concerts as well as drama club performances and assemblies. Ward added that the new facility will benefit not only Magnolia students, but also the whole city, as it will be rented out to anyone who has a need for it.

He said the center will be able to hold anywhere from 750-950, more than any other theater in town.

The new center will also be a facility that can host regional band and choir competitions. Ward added that he hopes “traveling entertainers or plays will also be able to stop in Magnolia and put on concerts or musicals or plays.”

It will have “state-of-the-art acoustical lighting and sound, and an acoustic engineer is going to design that,” said Ward. When asked about the architectural style of the new center, Ward said that it will have a “more modern design.”

Plans call for the center to have a main stage, including an orchestra pit that the stage can expand and cover if needed, a black-box theater off to the side, a prop room, a green room, dressing room, and a costume shop. There will also be a room designated as a classroom for the choir.

This new facility is expected to open up new opportunities for Magnolia students. When asked about possible program expansion, Ms. Goodwin, MHS drama teacher, said, “I definitely think there will be a whole lot more interest with a legit facility, and I’m really hoping that we will get another theater teacher and have more specialized theater classes.”

Goodwin added, “Since we’ll have a new facility, we’ll have an opportunity to do set design and lighting design and sound design — those things we don’t even offer now.”

Goodwin said she was optimistic: “I really think that once we have somewhere we can showcase our work, then students will really start coming in, and interested students and talent are what we really need more than anything right now.”

Goodwin added, “I can see that with a costume shop in there we could offer that kind of class as well as one in special effects makeup. As far as set building, I’m not sure the facility will have a set building shop or if that would have to take place somewhere else like the agriculture area or the art room.”

Speaking about lighting and sound design, Goodwin said, “It would be cool to have hands-on learning with those instruments as long as we have a technical person who knew what they were doing.”

Students are excited about plans for the new center, including Sevin Kacsir, drama club president, who said, “I think it’s a wonderful idea. Although I’m sad that I won’t be able to perform any school related productions on the stage, seeing as I’m a senior, I’m excited to someday sit in the audience.”

Hannah Sullivan, another active member of the drama club who also performs in community theatre said, “I’m actually very excited for the new performing arts center.”

Sullivan added, “I really want to be able to be a part of the center, but I’m a senior, and it won’t be finished until after I graduate. I know it’s going to be a big part of the community, and it’s going to be a huge step up from the junior high auditorium.”

Sullivan added that the construction is a good sign for Magnolia: “I’m excited that people are thinking and caring more about the fine arts!”

Supt. Ward said architects are still putting the final touches on the actual design for the center, so it has not yet been released but will be in the near future.

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Mikayla Sandusky, Journalist

I am a senior at Magnolia High School. Besides journalism, I am involved in yearbook and my church's youth group.

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