BELTON — For nearly six years, the Belton High School orchestra program has hopped from room to room.
“They have been in classrooms. They have been in band hall. They have been the most flexible group of students,” school board member Rosie Montgomery said, pointing out the program has grown from 12 students in 2013 to more than 250 members.
The program will soon have its own space. The Belton school board — in a unanimous decision on Monday night — approved the schematic designs for an orchestra addition at the high school, 600 Lake Road.
The designs call for a dedicated orchestra rehearsal hall, sectional room and three practice rooms. That will be 3,200 square feet. Additionally, the existing band hall, instructor space and band music library will be renovated.
The project is estimated to cost $1.4 million.
Currently, the orchestra program practices at the high school’s ninth grade center. That building will revert back to a middle school when Lake Belton High School opens in the fall of 2020. The new high school is under construction near State Highway 317 and FM 2483.
“We’ve really looked at the Lake Belton High School and the program planning effort that went on at that one to make sure that they’re parallel, and we’re being equitable between the two schools and balancing those two efforts,” Jarrod Sterzinger, an architect with O’Connell Robertson Architects, said.
Not only will a dedicated orchestra area be added to Belton High School, the façade will be redesigned.
“As you can see, we have the accent of the red metal panel at the top really announcing prominently Belton High School,” Sterzinger said, adding the entrance design is similar to that at Lakewood Elementary and the future Lake Belton High School. “So currently that’s actually on the face of the building behind the trees. We’re going to pull that to the front.”
Jeff Norwood, the board vice president, said the new entrance will enhance the high school.
“When I very first saw this, I was like what am I looking at? Because it looks just like Belton High School,” board secretary Janet Leigh said.
The school board will finalize the design of the orchestra addition in the next two months and select a construction contractor later in the summer.
The Belton Independent School District plans to have the new music space and high school entrance completed by July 2020. To meet that deadline, Sterzinger said construction will occur during the upcoming school year.
“It’s aggressive, but entirely doable,” he said.