Why the Construction of the Performing Arts Center is Worth its Woes

The+front+of+the+new+PAC

Jade Huynh

The front of the new PAC

Amanda Klein, Staff Writer

The clanging of metal upon metal. Sparks crackling into the air. The creaking of a crane as it is moves heavy pieces into place.

These are the sounds we hear every day at school, sounds that can be traced to the construction of the Performing Arts Center. Over time, these sounds have blended in with the hum of students going about their days, a part of the rhythm of our campus. The construction had become a part of the backdrop for most students. Until recently.

A week or two ago, a pungent smell, not unlike the smell of burning rubber, permeated the school. This smell was a result of tar being used in the construction and was noticed and disliked by most of the campus. Some students and staff complained of headaches, blaming the smell. This makes one wonder if the construction is having an impact on student learning.

“It smells and it’s loud,” senior Makennah Layng said. “[But] I think it’s cool because it’ll bring another aspect to Sage, so kids who are involved in drama or the arts can have a place to inform and excel, and Sage isn’t so focused on just S.T.E.M. in the classroom. It just brings in another way kids can excel here.”

Layng makes a great point that the Performing Arts Center will bring a lot of new opportunities to students in the art programs.

Junior Aleena Shad has also found the construction to be a bit of a disturbance, and touched on the subject that the performing arts center will be a great asset to the theater program.

“It’s kind of distracting with the noises and stuff when we’re taking tests, we always have to close the door, and the smell is so annoying,” Shad said, “I guess if I was into theater I’d be excited for [the performing arts center].”

Although he does find some faults in the construction, sophomore Antony Lin is glad that the drama department will be getting a home.

“I think it’s great that they’re building a new theater for all the drama kids. But I do think they could tone it down with the tar smell,” Lin said, “I think this will be a great addition to our Sage Creek family.”

AP English literature teacher Rachel Merino-Ott is excited about the progress of the performing arts center. She mentioned that the construction does not have that much of an impact on her students.

“[The construction] seemed stalled for a long time so I’m really excited to see how much action is going on out there, but I am so glad not to have the tar smell anymore, it was getting really overwhelming for a time, and I think I was having headaches, and I hope they don’t  have to do it anymore,” Merino-Ott said. “Sometimes if we’re being quiet we’ll hear loud pounding noises, and then we’ll shut the door. I think we are far enough away that [the construction] is not on top of us, and as I said earlier, the worst part was the tar, I think that affected everybody on campus.”

Merino-Ott will miss the mural made by the art students, but cannot wait to see what the performing arts center offers to the school.

“I’m very excited, I am so excited to see how [the performing arts center] looks, from both the outside and the inside. I think that having a home for our performing arts is really important, especially in honoring the arts students, although I will be sad to see the mural go, I adore it,” Merino-Ott said.

The construction manager, William Morrison, provided information on how long the construction has gone on for and when it is expected to be done.

“We started planning to break ground in October, and we broke ground in November [of 2016],” Morrison said. “[The construction] should be done in May of 2018.”

With just seven months left of construction, our school can power through.

Drama teacher Jillian Porter will be one of the people most affected by the addition of the performing arts center. Her classroom is also one of the closest to the ordeal. The VAPA teachers have managed to turn the loud noise of contruction into a way to challenge themselves.

“I’m really excited about [the performing arts center], every time I drive to school it looks like something else is done and it’s coming together and for a while it was like this imaginary thing that was just maybe somehow going to happen someday and now I actually see that it’s going to be here very soon,” Porter said, “It’s definitely loud, we are working on our projection over here in drama, which is good for the noise, so yes it has been loud, but we are really grateful for what’s going to be on the other side.”

In a school-wide survey, results revealed that out of 165 students, 50.3% of students do not care about the construction, 37.6% are bothered by it, and 12.1% love it. 63% of students feel the construction has no impact on their learning, while 37% feel it does. 68.3% are excited for the performing arts center and 31.7% are not. 58.5% are not involved in school arts programs while  41.5% are.

Our campus may be widely divided on this matter, but the majority can agree that they are eager for the performing arts center to be finished and bring new opportunities to our campus for years to come.

The applause of an audience. Laughter of pleased students. Shakespeare’s age-old words and the music of classics like Footloose.

These are the sounds that await our campus once the performing arts center is finished, the sounds that will bring excitement and joy to generations of students to come. For this, a little bit of tar smell is worth it.