After one of the busiest summers ever for the Wichita school district and its contractors, this fall has brought a parade of celebrations to show off bond issue projects and thank the community.
On Monday, officials marked the end of bond construction at East High, the city’s oldest high school, with a celebration open house in the school’s new performing arts center.
East, built in 1923, received about $10.5 million in additions and improvements from the 2008 bond issue.
Those include a new 600-seat auditorium, music classrooms and practice rooms. The bond project also included a small gym, swimming pool and locker rooms. The new music rooms and small gym serve as Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved storm shelters.
East’s old music rooms were renovated into vocational and technical education classrooms, and a child development center moved from portable buildings into permanent space.
Officials with East High Friends of Performing Arts say they’re about two-thirds of the way toward raising the money needed to finish and furnish a dressing room alongside the new auditorium stage. District officials cut the dressing room from the bond project when the project came in over budget.
The unfinished shell, a former locker room, has been wired and plumbed and just needs to be finished, said Amy Menas, president of the fine arts booster club. The group has raised about $20,000 toward the project.
“We’re just so thankful to the community for their support of the bond,” Menas said, “so the kids can have wonderful facilities like this.”
East High’s “Nights of Broadway” show will inaugurate the new auditorium the weekend of Oct. 19-21, she said.
Bond projects still are under way at many Wichita schools, including four high schools:• An $18 million expansion at Heights High that includes a new gym, wrestling room and storm shelter, locker rooms, swimming pool, auditorium, classrooms and renovated library.
• A $14.3 million addition to South High that includes a music suite and storm shelter, gym, swimming pool, wrestling room, renovated auditorium and classrooms.
• A $12.7 million addition at West High that will feature a new gym, swimming pool, wrestling room, music suite and storm shelter, renovated auditorium and new art, ceramics, culinary arts and physical education rooms.
• And an $11.6 million addition to North High that includes a new main gym, swimming pool, renovated auditorium, wrestling room and storm shelter.