A crowd of more than 100 gathered Thursday morning amid a cool breeze to witness the groundbreaking of the Bradwell Institute fine-arts building.
The new 14,136-square-foot wing of the school is expected to be complete in mid-October, Deputy Superintendent Cheryl Conley said, and will hold the band, chorus and two art classes — sculpture, and drawing and painting.
Performances by the choral and band classes welcomed board of education members and Mayor Jim Thomas as they gathered in front of dirt piles and construction vehicles outside the high school.
“This is an extremely exciting time for the students at Bradwell,” Braylon Hyde, a junior and the program emcee, told the group. “I would like to thank all those responsible for realizing how this would impact our fine-arts program.”
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer and BoE chairwoman Lily Baker each offered a few words of congratulations to the students and the staff at Bradwell.
“What an exciting day this is for us to be here,” Scherer said. “Lots of work has been done here on Bradwell … I’m here to tell you that the arts are a vital part to our school and a vital part to your development.”
Principal Scott Carrier echoed Baker and Scherer’s sentiments and said he is excited to see the new structure serve many students in the upcoming years.
“The students joining us this morning are only a small part of those who will benefit from these walls. It is for you that we break ground on this structure today,” Carrier told the fine-arts students.
Ayonna James, a sophomore chorus member, said she is glad the expansion will be done before she graduates since the current choral room is too small for the number of students involved.
“Normally, the music and arts is put on the back burner. They (BoE members) are taking an interest in the arts. They’re really encouraging the kids to join in the arts. In the years to come, you’re going to see it grow. With the buildings we have now, there’s not enough room for everything. We’ll have room for growth (because of this building),” James said.
“I’ve been here all my life. Just to see all the growth, I find it real good. I see the chorus and the arts is having a bigger impact on Bradwell and the community.”