Evergreen Local Schools are considering expansion of their middle school to create a home for the district’s thriving performing arts program.
Board of Education members on Monday approved a proposal to pursue a renovation that would include an auditorium for performing arts presentations. Superintendent Eric Smola said surveys conducted with the school district’s faculty, staff, students, and parents showed support for the project.
“Some saw it as a need, others saw it as a desire to create a space for our arts program,” he said.
The 52-year-old middle school was determined to be most conducive for expansion. The school district initially considered purchasing property next to the school for a stand-alone arts center but those plans fell through.
“There is the ability to expand the footprint of the middle school,” Smola said.
The expansion would also incorporate performing arts classrooms, other improved and added classroom space, updated locker and wrestling rooms, and the transfer of the district’s agricultural education department from its current location in the campus’s bus garage building.
Smola said the school district will hire The Collaborative of Toledo and Beilharz Architects of Defiance to produce concept drawings for the project. He said project plans are in the early stages. The school district will review options in early 2020, then develop a timeline for completion.
It’s too early for cost estimates for the addition but it would likely be funded through a bond issue, Smola said. A next step includes internal and external stakeholder feedback.
He said early indications have shown support for a performing arts center. “Through the strategic planning process that was one theme that recurred,” he said, adding that the school district’s performing arts program is one of its strengths.
BOE member Don Smith said the center would be a wonderful addition to the school district, but the decision lies with the community.
“We’ve got some community support, but what we’d like to do…is get more community input,” he said. “I would like to have the voters decide, really.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.