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Cannon Moss Brygger Architects

Todd Moss, left, and Carolyn Koch, of Cannon Moss Brygger Architects, show Spencer schools Superintendent Terry Hemann plans for a new high school fine arts center. A 750-seat auditorium is proposed. 

SPENCER, Iowa | Spencer school district officials on Tuesday received a look at preliminary plans for a new high school fine arts center and auditorium.

The proposal, by the Sioux City firm Cannon Moss Brygger Architects, would create a 750-seat auditorium, additional classrooms and administrative offices, and a mezzanine study area off the south side of the high school.

Construction is proposed at $8.5 million to $9 million. The school board would have to approve any plans. There is no timeline.

The project, if approved, would free up space in the high school and modernize the vocal and instrumental music areas. “This will give opportunities in all the fine arts areas,” said Spencer schools Superintendent Terry Hemann at the presentation Tuesday.

The high school, constructed in phases since 1960, does not have an auditorium. Events are held in the district’s former Junior High School about a mile away.

The idea for a high school auditorium originated more than 10 years ago and was included in a 2010 community survey.

The new space would connect the 1960s building to an outlying technical building, providing more security for students and staff. School offices would overlook the new main entrance on the southeast side of the building.

A larger lobby also would serve the gymnasium. A smaller practice gym could be built nearby in the future.

School board member Kris McDermott said she likes the proposal for the study area, since technology means students don’t need a library or study hall anymore.

“With laptops, tablets, and iPads, they can go find their own niche,” she said.

She said the project would provide a venue that’s a “source of pride, a gathering place for the entire community. You could almost consider it continuing education, because the music and theatre -- all forms of art -- can be carried through into adulthood.”

Todd Moss and Courtney Koch, of Cannon Moss Brygger Architects, presented the plans.

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