Between the videos, social media posts and updates from the administration, the construction progress of the new athletic and performing arts centers is clear. Harder to show is the sense that the campus is coming of age with these buildings.
From a modified café to a full-fledged theater for the hundreds of potential thespians throughout Harker, from rented theaters to home ground, with practice and dressing rooms, for hundreds of talented musicians, singers and dancers, the performing arts center looms large in imaginations.
“The students are beyond excited to work in classrooms and an actual theater in the new performing arts center,” said Laura Lang-Ree, director of performing arts. “While I think everybody realizes we do not have a theater, I think certain families realize just how difficult our job and the student learning is in our tiny, unpolished classrooms.
“We’ve never had a scene shop or a fly space, both of which will change both the audience experience and student learning,” Lang-Ree continued. “Our technical theater students will have a place to practice their craft and learn design elements as they will have a scene shop and light and sound booth on campus. Productions will look very different as we will be able to fly in set pieces (which is the norm) vs. building smaller sets and dragging them onstage!
“Having daily spaces with state-of-the-art sound and acoustical treatments that are triple and quadruple the sizes of some of our current classrooms will literally change the everyday learning experience for the thousands of students that will enjoy them in coming years.”
Our athletes also will have a home ground with the kind of essentials that allow them to focus on their performance instead of juggling rides and bags. The visions of a golden gym floor, of clean-tiled locker rooms, of training facilities that bring out the very best in our hard-working athletes are in the mind’s eye of Harker’s athletes and athletic staff.
“The athletes are absolutely thrilled about having a gym on this campus,” said Dan Molin, upper school athletic director. “One of them said, ‘It will truly feel like a home game.’ The new athletic center will generate more school spirit, more excitement and, frankly, more students will be interested in participating in sports. Students will walk by the gym, hear whistles and cheering, and come inside and join the excitement. This will positively change our sport culture and community, forever.”
The new centers, integrated as they are with Dobbins and Nichols halls, will bring a new maturity to the upper school campus.
“The athletic center completes the athletic complex, Molin said. “Looking at it visually, we’ll have the field, pool and gym all next to each other promoting a sense of unity between all sports and making a statement that we care about athletics as a part of the whole student.”
“I think the completion of both the performing arts center and gym will give our campus the feeling of completion and of being on par with other amazing high schools in the area,” said Lang-Ree. “We will have arrived!”
Now, with foundations set and walls rising, the dream is clearer than ever and the excitement is rising with the walls!