A Demand for change

Delayed Fine Arts renovation causes frustration in the community

Renovated Fine Arts Design     In an addition to a black box theatre and more practice rooms the expansion will also provide upgraded accessibility.

Renovated Fine Arts Design In an addition to a black box theatre and more practice rooms the expansion will also provide upgraded accessibility.

Imagine it. A place where students from all different creative backgrounds can demonstrate their extraordinary talents. A place where artists can showcase their pieces to the public, musicians can express themselves with their instruments and voices, and actors can shine on stage. This is the ultimate goal of the Fine Arts Expansion.

But ten years after proposing the idea, the project has still not been put into effect. This has diminished the hope of an expansion for the Fine Arts department.

“The initial release of the news of the expansion created so much excitement within the Fine Arts department and to find out it’s been put on hold is extremely disappointing,” junior Ava Jones said. “It makes us feel really neglected.”

Part of the reason why the expansion has been delayed for so long is because of the price. Originally, the Fine Arts expansion would cost seven to eight million dollars but recently that price has increased to $12-14 million dollars.

“As we had community meetings and talked to the students and staff, the price increased because it was necessary that it met all our needs,” Superintendent Von Mansfield said.

This delay has sparked frustration within the community. Many parents of Fine Arts students are very dissatisfied with how long the expansion process has taken.

“A decision has been a long time coming, but the process not moving along created a lot of frustration with the parents and the community members because we were not seeing a clear path to resolution,” band parent Maria Strohmeier said.

Even school board members are aggravated with the project being on hold.
“It’s embarrassing the way that they approached it, the way they have ignored it, and the way that they have stalled it,” School Board member Judy Scariano said.

Scariano has served the community for 20 years and was the only member of the finance committee who voted to keep the expansion. She is seen as a “beacon of light” to the Fine Arts Department.
The Fine Arts Expansion is a project designed to “impact the art, music, theatre, and multimedia” students of the Fine Arts Academy.

One out of every three students is a member of the Fine Arts Department and according to Thespian Honor Society President Laila Malak, this project is desperately needed.

“It’s important to meet the needs of all the talented incoming students as well as future generations. The expansion will provide more room, and therefore there will be less conflicts between theater, choir, band and other Fine Arts events,” Malak said.

Additionally, the Fine Arts Department is a well known institution in our community that has successfully represented our school. Jones, a member of Viking Choir said the creative students deserve this expansion from their hard work and effort in their craft.

“H-F has an extremely gifted Fine Arts department. From art, to music, to theatre, each department has so many accomplishments that deserve to be rewarded,” Jones said.

According to the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, the expansion will be constructed into three phases. A black-box theatre in the first phase, a new wing for music programs in the second phase, and a larger space for the students in the third phase, which will possibly be filled with more practice rooms.
However it’s not only for the artists, musicians, and actors of H-F.

Mansfield said the expansion will not only benefit Fine Arts students, but the entire school as well.
“Because we have so much going on at H-F, there are not enough places to put everyone. This expansion will help us create more user space,” Mansfield said.

Ultimately the expansion will help H-F become a destination school and lead the Fine Arts into a brighter future.