For the past several months the northeast corner of NS has been a construction zone. Last May crews started working on the new music room that will house band, choir, and other music classes.
When it is finished, the new two-story music room will include several individual and group practice rooms, along with more storage rooms and an open room large enough for the entire band to practice together without jeopardizing the hearing of band director, Tim Kidder.
The new music room is being built by Paulsen Construction from Spring City. It is expected to be completed by Friday, Nov. 8, and will cost NSSD about $945,000.
The decision to build a new music room began at the start of last school year, when conditions in the existing band room became unsafe for both students and Kidder. Due to the large number of students taking music classes and the size of the current band room, the noise was so loud that it began to damage Kidder’s hearing.
The original plan was to make adjustments to the existing band room, but that proved to be too difficult.
“First of all, we brought in an acoustical engineer to look at the existing facility,” Superintendent Sam Ray said, “but he basically said, no matter how much money you put in to this existing facility it will never meet the needs of this large of a group.”
So while the first plans for a new music room were being designed, the school district did all that they could to improve conditions in the current band room.
“We tried to mitigate as best we could in the meantime,” Ray said. “You may have noticed that we took out the storage cabinets along the back. We improved the storage in the percussion store room, and we put carpet on the back wall.”
From there, the focus shifted to the building of a new band room and how the school district was going to pay for it. First, the school board went through the district’s budget for the year and decided that there just wasn’t enough money in the budget for a new band room. But the need for a new music room was too pressing. So the board looked at their savings and saw that they had enough money to pay for the construction of a new music room in their rainy day fund.
“If we have a teacher losing his hearing, it’s raining pretty hard,” Ray said. “It’s time to get to the rainy day fund.”
The district then drew plans and put out requests for proposals. Ten different companies looked into the job, but Paulson Construction from Spring City got the bid.
“We also realized that if we are going to take the faculty parking lot right in front of the high school, we needed to expand the parking across the street,” Ray said.
Construction on both the music room and the parking lot began in May, and progressed smoothly, with the parking lot being finished in June and the music room on track to be completed by the second week of November.
Music teacher Timothy Kidder is excited to see what changes and opportunities that the new music room will bring.
“The thing that I am looking forward to the most is when we’re in class and I’m going to be able to move around,” Kidder said. “[Also] I’m looking forward to not having ringing ears anymore.”
In the current band room Kidder is unable to even walk around the room and listen to individual students or sections play, and because of the lack of acoustic treatment, playing the current band room is actually harmful to the hearing of those in the room.
The location of the new music room will allow the band to access the gym, auditorium and football field without having to cross half the school carrying their instruments.
“Another thing that is going to be great is that outside access,” Kidder said, “so when we go to football, we’ll be right there, when we go to basketball, we’ll be right there.”
The new music room will also have much more storage space than the current band room, and practice rooms that allow students to practice on their own and in groups.
“So, the practice rooms are in a loft area which is elevated off the main floor and around the edges,” Kidder said. “It’s actually going to be a band room, not just an extra classroom.”
“It’s going to be pretty great in the middle of class to be able to say, okay, go into a practice room and work in this,” Kidder said.
Overall, the new band room will be a great benefit to the band and choir programs and help both students and teachers get back to doing what they love.
“We are really excited and we’re really grateful that the district is supporting us,” Kidder said.
And though he has his doubts, Kidder only hopes that it is going to be completed on schedule.
“It’s supposed to be done by the end of the first week in November, so I’m hoping on Thanksgiving and planning on Christmas,” Kidder said.