By James Beaty
Strike up the band!
Steel is going up at the new McAlester Public Schools band building at Hook Eales Stadium.
“We’re just excited,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Marsha Gore.
Inclement weather this winter had slowed the initial phases of the project, but work is picking up with the recent milder weather, according to Gore.
“We think they will be finished in a month,” she said.
The new building will cost $96,893.55 and is being paid for through the Wanda Bass Foundation, according to Gore. C3 Construction in Ada is the contractor on the project.
The new band building measures 40 feet by 50 feet, for a total of 2,000 square feet.
Gore said the new facility will be utilized by both the band and the color guard and will be used primarily to store musical instruments on-site at the football field.
“A lot of times they have contests Saturday mornings after they have the Friday night games,” Gore said of the band members.
“Right now, they have to load them up and store them somewhere,” Gore said of the instruments after the Friday night games are finished.
MPS Band Director David Steidley agreed the new building will be a tremendous help.
“The biggest thing is we can store our equipment there,” he said.
Currently, to transfer the instruments and other equipment from McAlester High School to Hook Eales Stadium and then back to the school following a game requires two trailers and a box truck, Steidley said.
When the new band building is completed, students will be able to simply leave their instruments in it following a game, Steidley noted.
But how will the students get their instruments back for classes the following Monday?
Since Steidley teaches at a number of schools in the MPS system, the only time he’s normally at the high school is during the first hour, he said.
“During marching season, we have our class at the stadium,” Steidley said. In case of rain or other inclement weather, the practice can take place at the school’s indoor practice field, he said.
Steidley’s looking forward to completion of the new storage building.
“We thank the school and everybody who supported us,” he said.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.