Performing arts department to renovate, expand

Olivia Stock

Construction will soon begin to make modifications to the current performing arts department through renovation and expansion.

According to Chris Kreke, performing arts department chairman, the school will add about 20,000 square feet to the building, which will include more rehearsal, storage and classroom space as well as a new piano lab. Construction will begin in June 2021 and continue for roughly two years.

The last significant additions to the ensemble spaces happened in 1994 and 2008,” Kreke said via email. “Since that point we have added nearly 1,000 students to (performing arts) courses and the need for additional space both for instruction and storage has been very apparent for years.”

Riley Stuelpe, band member and sophomore, said he looks forward to the changes.

“The performing arts at Carmel High School, to me it’s really special because it’s such a big and inclusive program for everyone,” Stuelpe said. “And so I feel like by expanding the performing arts area you get just a little more space for everyone to use and to more develop themselves in the performing arts.”

According to director of choirs Kathrine Kouns, the changes to the building will also make the band, orchestra, choir and theater classrooms closer together.

“(Having classrooms closer together) will be much more convenient for all of the students and teachers,” Kouns said via email.

Kouns said the availability of space may change while construction is happening.

“During the actual renovation, I’m sure that everyone will need to be flexible as certain sections of the building are under construction,” she said. “We will all have to do our best to share spaces while the expansion takes place. When it is complete, I think that the students will be very happy with the new rehearsal spaces.”

Stuelpe, however, said he isn’t concerned about the lack of space impacting the performing arts department.

“The performing arts department is pretty resilient with how they’re able to work around challenges,” he said. “I know being in marching band, they still had an almost full marching band season sans-competition throughout the whole pandemic and so I don’t think it’ll really affect the performing arts department going into the future because they seem to be able to come up with a plan that works for anything.”

We are all just very grateful for the continued support of the Carmel Clay Schools admin team and the community,” Kreke said. “Renovations like this are huge undertakings and the willingness to make sure that our students have the resources that they need to succeed is very appreciated.”