Mid-Prairie vocal music teacher Collette McClellen gave an impassioned presentation to the school board on Monday, Jan. 24 about the district’s need for new fine arts facilities. A 600-seat …
Mid-Prairie vocal music teacher Collette McClellen gave an impassioned presentation to the school board on Monday, Jan. 24 about the district’s need for new fine arts facilities. A 600-seat auditorium, projected to cost $13.3 million, is one of the projects the district hopes to tackle if the bond issue is approved in March.
McClellen shared her teaching philosophy, which is “Students will rise to the occasion, and you get what you expect.”
“But our facilities do not always let our students shine as much as they could have,” McClellen said.
McClellen outlined all the activities the vocal music program participates in each year, from singing at Fall Festival and the Veterans Day assembly, to performing a yearly musical, to auditioning for various honor choirs, such as the All-State Chorus, to performing the district’s unique Madrigal Dinner. (McClellen is even speaking at the Iowa Choral Director’s Symposium about how to establish a madrigal dinner.)
“I’m blessed to be here. This is where I grew up, this is what I love, these kids are amazing,” McClellen said. “I want my students to always feel valued, to be appreciated and, to wrap this into the current bond issue, right now they do not always feel like they’re the top and that they get what they deserve — and I do say the word deserve because these kids have worked so hard.”
McClellen said that, while she is happy to have a stage in the high school’s current Student Center, there are many problems with the district’s current facilities. She said the curtains are falling apart, the backdrop at the back of the stage is broken and wires are hanging off it, some of the lighting has been hooked up incorrectly and many of monitors have feedback issues.
The current Student Center, sometimes called the Cafetorium or Multi-Purpose room, currently has about 150 theatre seats, according to superintendent Mark Schnedier
“Am I grateful for what we have? Yes. Do I think that our students deserve more? One hundred percent yes,” she said.
The district has planned $37.6 million in facilities improvements, including a new auditorium. To fund these construction projects, the district is selling $26.3 million in bonds. The estimated increase in property tax to repay these bonds is 60 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation. This is the same increase that was asked for during the 2014 bond referendum when voters approved bonds totaling $10.6 million.
“[The students] want to perform, they want to show people what they’re capable of, and they want to feel that they are worthy,” McClellen said. “And they are, they’re very, very worthy, but they don’t always feel that way.”
The school board told McClellen they appreciate her work to make Mid-Prairie a school with a strong performing arts program.
“There are so many kids out there who don’t play sports,” board member Gabrielle Frederick said. “I think it’s great that we have such a good fine arts program and [McClellen] is a big part of that.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here