ANTELOPE -- Students and staff cheered as district officials broke ground Thursday on a state-of-the-art performing arts center at Antelope High School.
"Ten years that we've been open as a high school," said Principal John Becker. "Every day we've been waiting for this building to be here."
A performing arts center was drafted into the original blueprints for the school but construction during the height of the recession put a snag in those plans.
"But with the cost of construction at an all-time high, the district had to make some tough decisions and eliminating the performing arts facility at the initial phase of the build of the school was necessary," Becker said.
So for the last decade, drama, choir and band students have had to haul their equipment to other nearby venues to perform. They have even performed on the dirt where their own arts center will be built, Becker says.
Now, thanks to a measure passed by community members, district officials finally have the funding to build the $13 million facility.
"All the bells and whistles," Becker said. "With technology, sound, acoustics."
It will finally make the original vision for the school a reality and give students in the performing arts programs a new theater to call home.
"I've seen many kids in tears. They will look at the renderings in our office and they just stare at it," Becker said. "Almost every day, there's a group of students who will walk by and go, 'That's our theater?' And then we say yes and they look at it and it brings them to tears."
The new performing arts center will open when the school year starts in the fall of 2019.