MFL MarMac officially unveils auditorium


MFL MarMac School Board Member Gina Roys (left) and President Patty Burkle look on as Superintendent Dale Crozier finishes cutting the ribbon for the district’s new auditorium on Dec. 13. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

 

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

 

When MFL MarMac’s new auditorium was completed earlier this fall, Superintendent Dale Crozier took a moment, by himself, to soak it all in and wrap his head around the fact that it was finally finished.

 

“It was a long time coming to make this happen,” Crozier said on Dec. 13, at an event officially recognizing the opening of the auditorium. “There were ups and downs getting it built…but now it’s 2013 and it’s done and built right.”

 

The auditorium has been over 10 years coming. In 2002, the district had strategic planning meetings, through which ideas for the district’s future were developed. One of the items that came out of that was the auditorium. In fact, it was one of the last items on the list to be completed.

 

“We had other facility things to do first,” explained Crozier.

 

Boilers, roofing and lighting have been replaced and energy efficiency issues addressed. Structures and technology have been updated and modernized.

 

In 2009, auditorium planning finally began, while construction started in 2012. It was designed by Martin Gardner Architecture through the vision of Tom Gardner, with the help of project manager Brian Stark and Crozier. It was the ninth project the company has done with the district, with past projects including the wrestling and music additions. Pro Build was the general contractor. Multiple sub-contractors were also involved to make sure all the parts needed for a fine arts performance were in place—everything from lights and sound to the stage and flooring.

 

“A lot of special contractors have to be involved with this process that are typically not involved with the typical construction project,” said Stark. “It was a good team effort.”

 

Monona’s Ron Mueller has been there through it all, documenting the construction process with hours of video and hundreds of photographs. Crozier also credited both past and present school board members.

 

“A lot of people on the school board had a say in discussing this,” he said. “It was a mass undertaking and I’m very grateful.”

 

So far, the auditorium has hosted at least half a dozen school functions, including assemblies, concerts, the Veterans Day program and, of course, the school musical, which was held in early November. In fact, it was completed just in time for rehearsals to begin.

 

When she joined the school board nine years ago, current Board President Patty Burkle said the music addition had just been completed.

 

“This ties right in,” Burkle said of the auditorium. “It’s much needed for the music department. It’s just a wonderful asset to the school and the communities. It’s a great, community-supported addition.”

 

Choral Director Jaydeane Berns and Band Director Lyle Behrend are especially pleased with the opportunities the auditorium will provide.

 

“It’s definitely going to build the programs,” Berns said. “We have our own space that we can rehearse in on our own time without disrupting phys. ed. classes.”

 

Behrend said the auditorium also offers students more of a professional opportunity to perform on a real stage instead of in the gym.

 

“That raises the bar as far as performance level,” Berns added.

 

Teacher Angie Killian, who also advises group and individual speech, said the auditorium will provide more possibilities to showcase the school’s talent. With the additional space, she hopes to hold more group speech competitions.

 

Crozier said the auditorium and the fine arts programs are one cog in a major educational machine.

 

“You have to have academic programs as a base,” he said, “but, to have a rounded education, students also have to have sports and fine arts.”

 

Now that the auditorium is complete, the district will move forward with new plans and ideas.

 

“In a way, it’s an ending, but it’s also a beginning,” Crozier said of the project. “We’ll put in another plan and see where we’re going. It’s a cog in a process. Education is always a process, and never a product. You always keep going.”

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