The wait is coming to an end.
Construction of the Festus R-6 Performing Arts Center is nearing completion and the facility is expected to open by mid-February, several months later than originally planned.
“It’s 99% done,” Superintendent Link Luttrell said Jan. 21.
Also that day, Luttrell said the city of Festus issued the school district an occupancy permit for the 28,500-square-foot center, which includes a 750-seat auditorium.
The center, which is being built next to the Festus High School Music Hall which opened in 2019, will cost $14 million – $12.5 million for construction and the rest for architectural and design work. engineering and other elements. The district pays the center with revenue from Proposition F, a 59-cent increase from district voters approved in April 2019.
Brockmiller Construction in Farmington, the project’s contractor, is working on the final touches, and the company still needs to train Festus R-6 employees to operate some of the center’s features, such as sound and lighting systems. .
Luttrell said he hopes the center will be open in time for plays to take place there in February and March.
“The plan right now is to have the Festus Middle School Musical (“Aladdin Jr.”) here from February 17-20,” he said. “I think the first high school production will be ‘Annie,’ in March.”
Brockmiller was originally expected to complete the building by October 2021, but supply chain issues have delayed the project, company president Bill Giessing told the Festus Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday. January 20.
He said that while “delivery” issues slowed the project down, work continued to move forward.
“I think all the pieces come together,” Giessing said.
Luttrell, who complained about the project’s delays at the board meeting, nevertheless said he was pleased with the center.
“It turned out great,” he said. “It’s something our entire district and community can be proud of, and it will be used for years to come.”
The entire building is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, he said.
Luttrell said he particularly likes the design of the auditorium.
“Even with 750 seats, it’s very intimate,” he said. “The scene is huge. There is LED lighting around the stage.
The stage is one of the last parts of the center to be completed, Luttrell said.
“One of the last things they have to do — what they’ve been waiting to do — is paint the stage floor black and seal it,” he said.
Instead of an orchestra pit under the stage, there is a space next to it for musicians to play during performances.
A room behind the stage contains a machine shop and will be used for set construction, Luttrell said.
“There is a storage room for costumes,” he added. “They can work on the costumes there.”
The entrance to the Performing Arts Center is in the back parking lot of the high school. Upon entering, visitors will pass through a large hall adorned with a chandelier.
Other features include a community room, multiple mounted monitors, designated restrooms for the public and further backstage restrooms for performers, and an elevator.
Brian Stam, the Brockmiller site superintendent, thinks the community will be impressed with the building.
“It’s as state-of-the-art as anything I’ve built,” Stam said. “I think there are colleges around who would be jealous. It’s a nice building. »
The Performing Arts Center will also be available for groups outside of the school district.
“It will be available to community groups for a fee when we’re not using it,” Luttrell said. “The fee schedule is not yet established.”
He thanked the community for approving Proposition F to fund construction of the Performing Arts Center and other neighborhood improvements.
“What we see is the result of the effort to create this (Performing Arts Center) on behalf of the school and the community,” Luttrell said. “It’s better than I could have imagined.”
Other projects funded under Proposal F include reconfiguring student drop-off and pick-up areas at elementary and middle schools to solve traffic congestion on Mid-Meadow Lane, as well as upgrading and replacing technology and infrastructure on an annual basis.
In addition, a community activity center of approximately 42,000 square feet will be financed with revenue from the tax increase. This center will be built behind and under the high school and is in the design phase, Luttrell said.