Leaders of the White Hall School District witnessed a piece of history on Thursday.
A crane ceremonially placed the final I-beam at the Palace of Fine Arts, completing the latest addition to White Hall High School, which is under construction.
The center is one of several projects resulting from a $26.5 million bond measure that voters favored in January 2020. The center is slated to open in late September, but the group and practice rooms the choir will be ready for use at the start of classes in August. said Superintendent Doug Dorris.
“It’s a big deal,” said Dorris, who will retire after June 30. “People were wondering why we had to start demolishing the bridge. That’s what people couldn’t understand. It’s really a remarkable path in two years.”
A pedestrian bridge, where contractors and school officials gathered to view the top, connected a parking lot facing Holland Avenue to the Bert Honey Gymnasium inside the high school, but it was partially demolished due to construction.
School officials signed the beam outside the district administration building ahead of Tuesday’s regular board meeting. A display inside the conference room described the design motive of the Palace of Fine Arts, which is to “create a point of convergence that will hold a reception area”. The center will also serve as the foyer for the gymnasium and will include a 1,233-seat theatre.
“It will be one of the best [fine arts centers], I’m sure,” said architect Randy Palculict of Jackson Brown Palculict. “We do a lot and try to get better every time. Many details have been put into the acoustics of the space and its proper functioning.”
Nabholz Construction is the contractor behind the new facility and recently opened multi-purpose hall, which houses the football team. Dorris said the lockers will arrive for this building on Monday.
“It’s a wonderful day for the community here at White Hall, all of these students, faculty and staff,” said school counselor Scott Lockhart. “It will be an amazing thing when completed. The children and our staff will greatly benefit from it.”