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Arlington High plans $8.4M fine arts expansion

Posted by | October 27 2022

This article originally appeared in the Daily Memphian

Arlington Community Schools is set to move forward with the newest major expansion at the town’s high school.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Board of Education unanimously approved an $8.4 million fine arts expansion and renovation at Arlington High. About $1.1 million will come from the district’s ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds received as a result of the COVID pandemic.

“Everybody knows you can go to college now for free doing orchestra and band. Our band in particular has a very long history winning multiple competitions. They’re very accomplished, and we just felt like if we could give them a better space, we should,” Dr. Dale Viox, ACS board chairman, said. “They deserve it, and they’ve been cramped in that old building for a long time.”

The project will include new dedicated entry, lobby and art gallery areas, as well as a new teacher work area.

For music students, a new, larger band room measuring at least 60 feet by 100 feet will include expanded storage for the many instruments, and there will be a separate dedicated orchestra room.

Art students and staff will enjoy renovated classrooms, expanded art storage, new equipment for screen printing and a new kiln room. Theater students and staff will get a refreshed auditorium with a new stage area, new dressing rooms and an expanded scene shop.

“One of our primary functions is to improve the finishes in this auditorium. It’s a little outdated, so we’re going to freshen it up. We’re going to remove the proscenium and introduce some new wood that will provide some warmth in that space, change the aesthetics and modernize it a little bit,” Michael Winter, Fleming Architects vice president, said.

“I’m very proud of our fine arts department, and I think it’s certainly time. I just think this is fabulous … and great for our high school,” ACS board member Kay Williams said.

The district will also upgrade the bleachers at the high school’s baseball stadium.

“When you look at our baseball stadium, inside the fence looks really, really nice, and our field house looks really, really nice. Our bleachers have just kind of been there probably from the beginning — if I had to guess — from when they built this school way back in the day,” board member Scott Benjamin said.

Superintendent Jeff Mayo believes the upgrade will put AHS in a more competitive situation with the other teams they play.

The cost of the new bleachers will be approximately $249,000.