Frisco ISD is actively exploring partnership opportunities for a fine arts facility approved by voters in November. K-12 student needs and opportunity will be at the forefront throughout the planning and design process, with a target groundbreaking for construction in 2021.
In the summer of 2018, the Facilities and Programs Evaluation Committee encouraged the District to explore all potential partnerships before committing to a plan on what is best for Frisco ISD students.
The facilities committee was supportive of the fine arts facility and encouraged due diligence as the District prepares for the right project or partnership that will be in the best interest of students, with finding the right project prioritized over expediency.
As a result, the District formed an internal fine arts facility committee who will ensure K-12 students are provided opportunities to learn and grow in a fine arts facility tailored to their needs.
The District has arranged meetings with numerous third-party groups over the past month and has more meetings set in the next couple weeks as it considers more options over the next four months.
“Initial conversations with the internal committee and potential partners allow us to really understand the needs of the groups we are visiting with and what additional experiences could be afforded to our students,” said Scott Warstler, director of planning and business operations. “At the end of the day, our community supported a fine arts facility to meet the needs of our students and the district. Over the next few months, we will continue to collaborate with potential partners and our committee will present an update to the Facilities and Programs Evaluation Committee sometime late summer.”
The District has $43 million in bonding authority set aside for the project and owns several tracts of land that could be potential sites for the fine arts facility.
With a current enrollment at 60,647 students at 72 campuses with 412 fine arts teachers, collaboration across campuses to expand K-12 student opportunity is a priority.
In a District rich with a variety of student programs, fine arts participation is booming with 55 percent of high schoolers, 85 percent for middle schoolers and 100 percent of elementary students participating in a robust and relevant fine arts education. The fine arts facility will be a home for all of them.
The multi-purpose fine arts facility will bring together existing collaborative events while also providing new multi-campus opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students in all fine arts disciplines.
The future venue is earmarked for use by Frisco ISD at least 170 days a year based on current auditorium usage for gallery events, professional development and auditorium use. With the new facility, the space will potentially host more competitions, opening up more opportunities for District K-12 students.
June, July, August and September present opportunities for future District and community collaborative opportunities. When not in use for District events, the fine arts facility would provide an opportunity to collaborate as a District on large-scale events while engaging the business and nonprofit community.
Frisco ISD Student Services facility rental requests for auditorium space have doubled in the last three years. At least 50 groups are actively seeking facility rental space.
The flexible professional learning space will allow for multiple events to occur simultaneously with three functional spaces including an auditorium, art exhibit space and professional learning space. As an added benefit to students and staff, the multi-function fine arts facility will allow for simultaneous events, presentations and activities.
Preparing students for success in the future is a major emphasis of Frisco ISD educators. According to Preston Hazzard, the managing director of fine arts, “This facility will offer systemically unique opportunities for students to collaborate, innovate and coordinate at all levels of the educational process. Having a place that allows for the recognition and demonstration of the results of an intentionally robust and relevant fine arts education will be a game changer for the students that attend our schools.”
Holding events at the fine arts facility rather than high school auditoriums and associated fine arts classrooms will recover thousands of minutes of classroom instruction time across all campuses. Students and staff look forward to the fine arts facility and the increased student opportunity across the District.
With the realization of a fine arts facility, tens of thousands of K-12 students and their families will have the opportunity to gather with the community in support of the arts for years to come.