FOREST CITY | Members of the Forest City School Board had to use their imaginations Monday, Oct. 9, while they toured the unfinished Hanson Family Fine Arts Facility.
Nick Carroll with Kingland Construction and Superintendent Darwin Lehmann led the tour at the site, 305 John K. Hanson Drive, across from the Hanson Fieldhouse before the School Board’s regularly scheduled meeting.
“We’ve been pretty blessed with weather so far,” Carroll said. “Hopefully, that can continue.”
Lehmann said the project is on track to be completed by October 2018.
“We’re moving at a good speed,” Carroll said, adding Kingland Construction hopes to have the facility “completely enclosed” within the next month and a half, so it can continue interior work throughout the winter.
Once the building is enclosed, he said the contractor’s attention will turn to completing the duct work, the sprinkling system and preparation for seating.
Lehmann, who has provided a project update to the School Board since its groundbreaking in April, said the directors requested a tour before winter, so they could see its progress.
During the tour, Carroll and Lehmann encouraged the School Board to ask questions about the various segments of the facility, which is currently filled with rebar, construction equipment and a dirt floor.
The project—a partnership between the Forest City Community School District, the city of Forest City and Waldorf University—is a $10.3 million, two-story, 29,743 square-foot state-of-the-art fine arts facility. The facility will feature an auditorium seating 600 to 650 people and a large stage as well as space for storage, set construction and meetings or receptions. It also has the capacity to expand in the future.
“It’s good for everybody,” said Bruce Meilke, Forest City School Board president. “It’s good for the community.”
When completed, the facility will be used for university, school and local theater group performances as well as regional and national touring groups.
The Hanson Foundation said earlier this year it would commit $4.4 million over four years to the proposed fine arts facility.
The school district will contribute $2 million, the city $2 million and the university $500,000. Waldorf also has committed $1.5 million in operation costs over 15 years.
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs also announced this summer it will award $157,000 to Forest City. Of that, $150,000 is scheduled to go toward the new fine arts center.