Northside High to Expand Fine Arts Center

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While many school districts across the country are cutting fine arts from their curriculum, one local school district is investing in the arts to the tune of $4 million.

Nearly a third of Northside High School students are involved in the school’s music programs, according to school administrators.

"It's really exciting to see how many students are involved in secondary music in Fort Smith and especially on the north side of town,” said Bill Cromer, choral director.

That’s a large part of the reason why the school has chosen to expand their fine arts center. The school board approved the expansion project earlier this week.

The current fine arts building hosts band, orchestra and choir. Cromer says all three programs have seen an increase in participation over the years. He says there isn't enough space in the current facility and the students will benefit from a larger building.

“The marching band has expanded so tremendously that they will be able to rehearse indoor in an actual rehearsal area all together for the first time,” he said.

Because Northside is landlocked, the district will add a second floor to the 33-year old building, more than doubling its current size, according to Superintendent Dr. Benny Gooden.

“We're also going to renovate the first floor consistent with the kind of renovations we generally do on 30-plus year old buildings," he said. “Bring it up to speed in terms of lighting and restroom renovations. The kind of things we've done all over the district."

A bond issue will fund the $3.9 million in renovation and expansion costs at Northside.

The district hopes to have construction completed by Aug. 2014.

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