Craig On Tuesday afternoon in the Craig Middle School auditorium, instruments were piled on the seats.
CMS band students sat quietly on stage listening to director John Bolton’s instructions echo throughout the auditorium.
Next to the doors of the auditorium, where a wall once stood, a glowing hallway extends down past the auditorium to a set of glass doors.
When the students return from holiday break Jan 4, they will unpack their flutes, trumpets and tubas into the new band room across the new hallway, complete with sound diffusing technology and locking storage for their instruments.
Throughout the fall, general contractor Neenan Co. has worked to install a new auxiliary gym, locker rooms, a band room and drama room on the north side of CMS.
The 11,000-foot addition will be finished before the students leave for holiday break, during which the district will move furniture and equipment into the new spaces.
During the fall, students used temporary locker rooms and had to walk down the hall to go to the bathroom.
CMS physical education teacher Todd Hildebrandt said he and his students are looking forward to that first gym class where they can prepare in the new locker rooms.
“It’ll be nice to have toilets,” he said. “And sinks. You know, basic stuff.”
The new addition will consolidate the gym department so students won’t have to walk as far to find a drinking fountain when they’re thirsty or to go change clothes in time to get back to class. The new auxiliary gym also was installed at the perfect time, Hildebrandt said.
When CMS wrestling begins in January, the wrestling mats will be kept in the auxiliary gym so they won’t interrupt the space needed for gym class in the main gym.
“We used to have to implement our curriculum around the mats,” he said. “This way we’ll have our own home area. We’re really excited.”
It is fitted with two basketball hoops and a high ceiling. Although the basketball court is not full-sized, CMS principal Bill Toovey said it will help alleviate space issues.
It will provide space for sports teams such as basketball, volleyball and wrestling to practice while leaving the main gym area free. The lockers rooms also underwent an upgrade.
Previously, Toovey said the physical education department struggled with cramped space.
“They were adequate to the point where they had lockers in them,” Toovey said. “But space-wise, it was really tough.”
There also is one empty room that is designated as a drama room. Choir director Dan Mullens could use the room for ensemble rehearsals or drama practice.
“We’re excited to have the project completed to where we can best utilize the learning space,” he said.