Earlier this year we told you how the Indianola school district was investing in a place not many schools are right now: the arts. A major expansion project overhauled most of the middle school including the music rooms.
Bouncing tennis balls in choir class is pretty common for Indianola 6th graders. Because of the increasing enrollment in choir, Lindsey Bruner was hired this year as the school's second vocal music teacher.
"I've never had the space before in my classroom," Bruner said, who previously taught in Des Moines. "This space rivals a lot of high school facilities. It's awesome."
The students move practically the whole time which is a lot easier to do in their new spacious room.
"It's just an amazing difference," said Melody Clutter, the school's other vocal music teacher. "Before, we had steps, it was a very small room, everything was crowded, the kids were on top of each other."
The music wing was completely gutted and remodeled. The choir room now has space for risers, another room is strictly for band and another for the orchestra.
New spaces include instrument lockers, closets, and practice rooms for small groups.
Bruner believes the updated facilities will help students grow not just as musicians but as future leaders.
"We always talk about 21st century skills in school and how we're trying to build that for our students so that they can compete in this global economy. Music and the arts does that: creativity, team building, leadership."
Another highlight of the project is the new Blake Fieldhouse. Retired professional baseball player Casey Blake promised to give $1 million to help pay for it if the community could match it.
And they did.
It features a raised track, bleachers to fit the whole school, and several basketball courts.
The fieldhouse will be used for sports and gym classes and even some high school practices.
This renovation and expansion project includes many other things like a whole new wing of classrooms, a new computer lab, multi–purpose room, and moving the office to the front of the building.