GREENFIELD — A remarkable new auditorium and expanded natatorium are one step closer to reality at Greenfield-Central High School.
After working the last 12 months on the design of the new space, the Greenfield-Central School Board voted unanimously Monday evening to approve the construction documents for the public tender.
“We hope to innovate during the summer holidays. It will depend on the availability of steel and concrete walls,” Superintendent Harold Olin said.
Olin said the project, which is estimated to cost between $20 million and $25 million, will be funded by bond proceeds and will take about two years. The Skillman Corporation will oversee the project.
The new performing arts center will feature 1,400 seats, a high-tech sound system and LED lighting along the back walls that can change color before or during performances.
It will replace the school’s smaller, outdated auditorium, which will continue to be used as a theater and eventually as a teaching space for large groups.
The construction project also expands the school’s natatorium, doubling the seating capacity from 145 to 295.
The two spaces will share a two-story glass entrance, which will also serve as the entrance to the school’s main gymnasium.
Olin said the overall project, which will primarily occupy part of a parking lot at the north end of the school, will completely transform the look of the building.
The school board, along with teachers from the school’s performing arts department, have worked with Indianapolis-based architectural firm Lancer + Beebe on the design phase of the project over the past year.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Tim Funston, senior project manager at Lancer + Beebe, shared a slideshow showing what the new auditorium and natatorium would entail.
Renderings show a glazed atrium and wide foyer that connects the new auditorium, natatorium, and gymnasium. A second floor balcony in the foyer overlooks the entrance below.
The new performing arts center is the star of the show, with LED lights emitting colorful illumination along the back walls. The new center includes what Funston said is the most advanced technology for an educational learning center, as well as video stages on the lobby wall, storage space for a piano, risers and costumes, and a cloakroom. for the actors, as well as a green room. with mirrors and lighting.
It’s a big step up from the theater’s current setup, which requires students and parents to haul sets to an upstairs storage area.
The planning team evaluated dozens of carpet samples, paint samples, wall tiles, and chair and curtain fabrics when designing the new space.
Funston said it was a pleasure working with Greenfield-Central Schools throughout the design process, and he looks forward to seeing the project complete.
“We couldn’t have asked for better partners than the administration of Greenfield-Central Schools and the Skillman Corporation. The new performing arts center will be truly one of a kind,” he said, “and we hope the school and community will have access to such equipment.”
Olin said the performing arts center will not only impact students, but audiences as well.
“We anticipate this will be a beautiful space that our guests will love,” he said.
Olin added that because the new auditorium may be closed to the rest of the school, it can be rented out to outside groups to generate income for the school.
Greenfield-Central students, however, will be the main beneficiaries. According to Funston’s presentation, there are currently 158 students using the auditorium in choir, 242 in band and orchestra, 49 in performing arts, and 28 in dance club and guard.
The auditorium also hosts a number of outdoor events throughout the year, including Hancock County Children’s Theater Camps, Wilkerson Dance Studio performances, Riley Festival Queen’s Pageant, and Reunion annual NineStar Connect.