Fine arts wing project

Construction is nearing completion on a $9.4 million renovation and expansion of the fine arts wing at Temple High School.

Excitement is growing among Temple Independent School District’s administration with the high school’s fine arts project nearing completion.

The $9.4 million project, which is overhauling 26,100 square feet of existing space, while incorporating an additional 9,800 square feet, broke ground last spring.

“We’ve had to displace our students for this school year but we are nearing the end as we come down the home stretch on our project,” Kent Boyd, Temple ISD’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said.

Boyd detailed how Temple High School’s visual arts programs have historically been spread throughout the campus but stressed how this project allows them to be housed all in one area.

That transition solves previous security concerns, board President Dan Posey said.

“While athletic facilities will still be separate, the rest of the high school will still be under one roof for the first time, since it was built … This will eliminate separate buildings, completing the vision that we started,” Posey said.

While the elimination of separate buildings helps ease these concerns, Superintendent Bobby Ott also noted how the marketing value that comes with the fine arts space facing west toward Interstate 35.

“There are so many opportunities that come out of this and we’re grateful to the taxpayers for this as being part of the (2015) bond,” Ott said. “There’s no question about it and I believe this will deliver to the vision that they had, and maybe even exceed it in many respects.”

Boyd detailed the specifics regarding this vision — specifically the ability to bring more storage and natural light into these spaces. He explained how rooms without traditional access to natural light have been equipped with solar light tubes.

“All of these spaces have all the same type of finishing that we have in the (Career and Technical Education) area and throughout the high school … Colors that certainly are blue but also some natural tones and colors in there to try and make the campus flow and to be more seamless in the way it looks,” Boyd said. “That’s always been a desire of ours on these renovations.”

The new space also will effectively become a new entrance for students, which will provide various opportunities for showcasing students’ work.

“It also will feature some really nice presentation spaces where we will be able to showcase our visual arts,” Boyd said. “People coming this way will see visual arts front and center with a very nice open space.”

Ott believes this space will be the perfect location to host fine arts signings — a ceremony started last year where the school draws up certificates to honor students going to study fine arts at the college level.

“There is very little wasted space,” Boyd said. “We’re using a lot of existing space that we had and making it much more useful.”