MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - A new performing arts center at Moline High School is now ready for use.
The Bartlett Performing Arts Center replaces the 60-year-old auditorium with 35,000 square feet of renovations and 10,000 square feet of additions. The school held a ribbon cutting on Thursday.
"It was a huge group, a collective effort, to design and implement such a magnificent building," Trista Sanders, the principal of Moline High School, said.
The 800 seat auditorium features new lighting and audio systems, increased handicap accessibility, a scene shop with garage doors that open to the back of the state, and new choir and band spaces. The design was intended to be versatile.
"The community will come in and use it for all kinds of things that they need the venue for. But in addition to that, we'll hold class meetings and things like that in here for school," Sanders said.
There is also classroom space and a multi-purpose room, which is also equipped with lighting and audio and can double as a black box theater for smaller performances.
"And the big lobby area that eventually will have some tables and chairs in it and can be used almost like classroom space as well,” Sanders said.
From the school board, to members of the community, multiple groups had a say in the design, including Moline High School students.
"We were chosen to sit in the planning…to help give ideas for everything...just what everything should look like. It was really fun," Ben Klocke, a junior at Moline High School, said.
Principal Sanders said it was important to include the voice of students.
"Something this size that has such an impact on the community and the school....especially something that specializes in the performing arts, we recognize that the students who use the space, know a whole lot about what needs to happen," she said.
The renovation gives the community of Moline a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that students and staff say they are excited to start using.
"It's been a long time coming, obviously. And being able to see in from the outside from the big windows as you come in really creates a lot of anticipation for what you're going to get when you come in. It paid off," Sanders said.
The first play to take the stage at the new center is Meet Me in St. Louis. It runs from March 21st to March 23rd.