The sound of students singing in harmony fill a recently added choir room at Center Grove High School.

The singers went through a variety of vocal exercises as they warmed up during the start of their choir class last week. On the second day of the school year, they were already set to get working on songs they’ll perform at fall and Christmas concerts. The space is nearly twice as large as the high school’s previous choir room, meaning students have to sing louder, which is just one of the benefits of the renovation project, choir director Jared Norman said.

“It’s a larger space, and the kids sing bigger to fill it,” he said.

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A $2.8 million project to expand and renovate the music wing at Center Grove added a nearly 13,000-square-foot room for the choir program — about double the size of their previous room — along with renovations to the rest of the music wing. The work, which wrapped up earlier this year, gave students more room to practice, added lockers and moved individual practice areas inside the music rooms.

The project was paid for with funds left from several other school projects, including a new student activity center, which came in under budget, school officials said.

The addition on the east side of the building allowed officials to shuffle the space the school’s four main music programs use for practice. The choir program got a larger space, the orchestra moved into the former choir room, and the percussionists took over the space they were sharing with the orchestra. Those rooms, along with the band’s room, were also remodeled.

Getting each music program into its own room is a time saver, because now they each have their own space, rather than sharing space based on who needs to use it, Norman said.

With how fast the school’s music programs have been growing, the addition was a much needed improvement, superintendent Richard Arkanoff said.

For students in one of Center Grove’s many music programs, this music wing is often where they start and end their day at the school, Arkanoff said. The renovations expanded the number of lockers in the music wing from 200 to 400.

Senior choir member Sarah Anderson, said she loves having the larger space, which make practicing the dance routines that go along with some of their choir programs much easier.

Fellow senior choir member Wilson Smith likes the improved acoustics of the new space.

“The sound resonates better in here,” Smith said.

In their previous room, chairs and the stage had to be re-arranged depending on who was using it. Now, they have space to arrange the chairs and stages needed for the eight choir groups the program’s more than 300 students are divided among, said Norman, a former choir member who graduated from Center Grove in 2008.

The addition also added a larger room to store choir costumes that has space for parent volunteers to assist in making and repairing them, he said.

While the new room is primarily intended for the choir programs, the marching band, other school groups and summer music camps have also been able to use it when they’ve needed a space to practice, he said. The most singers they’ve had at once in the room was about 200, when some middle schools choirs used the space for a rehearsal over the summer, he said.

At a glance

Center Grove High School wrapped up $2.8 of renovations and expansion to its music wing earlier this year. Here’s a look at some of the improvements:

  • A new 13,000-square-foot choir room
  • 200 additional lockers
  • additional storage space
  • renovations to the percussion and orchestra rooms
  • relocated practice rooms
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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.