EDITORIAL: Outdated MP room should be first on the renovation list

(To read more about Country Day’s future building plan, please click here and here.)

Our MP room isn’t a place at which a prospective student musician or actor would look and say, “Wow, I think it would be really cool to perform here!”

Frankly, our MP room pales in comparison to the performing arts centers of other schools. We don’t even have a real stage, as ours is cramped and distinguished from the rest of the room only by a change of flooring.

Plus, the room is utilized for many different purposes (including music groups, drama, dances and assemblies), making scheduling difficult and requiring equipment to be set up and torn down daily.

The school has made significant progress in upgrading and modernizing the campus over the past several years (such as the current project of the middle-school math and science building). But it’s about time the performing arts received some attention.

We know the MP room will eventually be replaced with a performing arts center. But eventually could mean it’s the next project, or the one after that, or the one after that—a new performing arts facility is something that has been desired for a long time and is still years down the road.

Our programs will always be limited by the size of our school, but the lack of a proper place to perform (or even to rehearse) is a huge turn-off for serious musicians and actors.

And with the school’s new emphasis on marketing, starting next year with the hiring of Tucker Foehl as the first head of strategic programs, it makes sense to try to attract new actors and musicians (and old eighth graders) with new facilities.

To be fair, the L-shaped building in the middle school that is planned to be constructed after the current project will provide some needed classroom space.

If it turns out that enrollment increases so much that additional classrooms are absolutely necessary and cannot be provided any other way, the L-building should be built next—no question about it.

But if the visual and performing arts center were constructed first, it could provide temporary classroom space until another building is constructed: even if some groups still have to share practice rooms, they’d still have a nicer building and a real performance hall.

Eventually, a performing arts center could even include space for programs (such as dance) that we don’t currently have at all.

Since a performing arts center would be the site of assemblies, concerts and other events, it would be especially influential in improving the school’s image. After all, the folding plastic chairs on a tile floor that currently provide seating in the MP room simply do not convey a great image.

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