The building has been in use since the beginning of the school year, but an official open house had not been held.
Showcasing the talent that will benefit from the new building were the BCHS band, drama and show choir students.
Principal Todd Shoemaker thanked all those who made the building possible and those who came to the open house.
“It’s not just about the building, it’s about ... the students who are right here. That’s why we do what we do,” Shoemaker said. “And so I get excited because I think ‘What about them? But, what about the future?’ What are we going to have out of this building, and what are students going to do in the next four years?”
Bradley County Board of Education member Troy Weathers got emotional when he spoke of the future the new performance and practice space could provide students.
“I’m overwhelmed by the thought of where we are going in the next four years in this building,” Weathers said.
Even though many of the students will not choose fine arts as a career, the time they spend in the fine arts will have a positive impact in their lives, he said.
Weathers said he has wanted the school to have a better performance space since he went to a show in the school’s Little Theater, and saw that the performers needed more.
Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said the building had been a dream for the school for a long time, and he was excited to finally see it become a reality.
The road to that dream started with the board of education, he said. The board began setting aside $200,000 each year to pay for the construction of the new building. When the county passed a half-cent sales tax increase, the revenue gave the school system the remaining needed funds, Weathers said.
McDaniel said the new building also provides more space for the school by moving fine arts classes out of the gymnasium.
“I look at the building, and I am very pleased. It’s gorgeous, but as a former educator what excites me about this building is the life that the students breathe into the brick and mortar,” Bradley County Board of Education chairman Charlie Rose said.
Rose said he hopes the fine arts center will draw students to it. The additional space gives students a great place to “hone their talent,” he said.
“It’s (talent) something you can carry with you through your life,” Rose said.
The open house was held in the auditorium of the new building. The room can seat 600 and is equipped with the latest in lighting and sound technology. Professional-style dressing rooms connect the backstage of the new auditorium and the Little Theater in the older building.
The building includes a band room and choir room, giving each group additional space. State-of-the-art technology has also been incorporated in each room. This technology provides better equipment for students to work with, and reduces energy costs for the school. Lighting in each room can be set to come on and off automatically, making it more energy-efficient.
The new building also features a new room for the kilns used by the art classes.