Santa Fe Trail High fine arts facility to open next week

CARBONDALE—The two large monolithic domes on the Santa Fe Trail High School Campus will begin to serve their purpose next month, the first of which is set to be open next week.

“It’s been two years, we’re ready,” said Steve Pegram, USD 434 Superintendent.

Crews are wrapping up work on the fine arts facility, which houses a 500-person theater, along with band and choir rooms. The theater is inside the smaller of the two domes.

“We need to finish up some hardware, carpet and install sinks,” said Mark McFarland, supervisor of the project. “We anticipate they can occupy it Monday.”

The fine arts dome had a head start, from the digging of its foundation in May 2014 to the inflation of the dome that caps the facility last year. Floors and walls were installed earlier this year, while the second dome waited for its roof to be completed.

Additional work included dry walling and painting the inside of the domes, as well as adding acoustical elements. Both domes feature a very open architectural design.

The second dome was inflated weeks after the first, but delayed after a combination of high winds, a failed seal and a broken fan caused the second dome to deflate. Progress stopped on the building until crews could return to inflate the dome six weeks later.

“Had we not lost those six weeks, we would have been done three weeks ago,” McFarland said.

Work is set to begin on the gymnasium floor Aug. 31, with the installation of bleachers soon after.

“It’ll take a week to install,” McFarland said.

He anticipated the second dome – which houses an auxiliary gym, wrestling room and locker rooms – would be open by Sept. 21.

“Or sooner,” he added. “They’ll be in there bouncing volleyballs by then.”

McFarland said the crew would finish cleaning up the site and walkways around the domes once they’re opened.

“After that we’re cleaning up the site and waiving goodbye,” McFarland said.

As the final forms take shape, and carpet, fixtures and paint are applied, the final forms become clear.

“They’re really cool buildings,” McFarland said. “We’ve had a lot of visitors from other school districts.”

McFarland also commented on the support of the community through the process, and the security of the site, indicating no issues of theft or vandalism.

“I think it has a lot to do with the pride the district has in these buildings,” McFarland said.

Pegram echoed the lack of issues around the construction.

“Kids have treated it well, and the patrons have been interested,” Pegram said. “We’ll be glad when it all locks up.”

The domes were approved by a $4.6 million bond issue passed in April 2013.

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The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

The official newspaper of Osage County; the cities of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern, Olivet, Osage City, Overbrook, Quenemo and Scranton; Burlingame USD 454, Lyndon USD 421, Marais des Cygnes Valley USD 456, Osage City USD 420 and Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

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