Gwen Shroyer of BCHS said the school has hosted a variety of sold-out local programs, but never a state-recognized event with the level of prestige as the DYW.
“We were excited to try to pursue it, then when it came to putting things together it just made sense,” Shroyer said.
Securing the facility for the state competition began when a meeting of the Distinguished Young Women of Cleveland program was held in the center.
Charles Fant of the program’s state committee attended and was impressed with the facility. This is when state committee member Holly Kesley initially suggested moving the state competition.
As a teacher of freshman biology and physical science at Bradley Central High School, Kesley said she wanted the facility to be recognized. Kesley was also enthusiastic about the venue because it would cost less than previous facilities for the state program.
“We try to keep our costs as low as possible to provide more scholarships to the girls,” Kesley said.
Shroyer said the competition is paying a donation for the use of the building. Such donations are used to expand the program, update equipment and add new elements.
“That donation in turn helps our program,” Shroyer said.
The program is using the facility to practice and for the final competition. In the past the program has only been able to rent the final performance space for two days, according to Kesley. By using the Bradley Central Fine Arts Center, contestants will be able to practice their routines on the actual stage where they will perform.
The new fine arts center is connected to the school’s Little Theater, allowing the program access to two stages for practice.
Shroyer said he has met with the state committee on several occasions to discuss “the technical aspects, the size of the stage (and) what types of lighting we can accommodate, so they know what we have and if they need to bring anything in.”
Shroyer said the venue is good for the competition because of the way it is laid out.
“It’s a great-size room, the acoustics, where you’re sitting you can pretty much see any aspect of the stage, so it’s not camouflaged off on the side,” Shroyer said.
Kelsey said the venue is slightly larger than the facility the program has utilized in the past.
“I think it will be good for the program,” Kesley said.
Distinguished Yong Women’s choice to use the fine arts center will also benefit BCHS students with opportunities to gain experience and compensation running the technical aspects of the final competition, according to Shroyer.
“The students are very well trained. This is a facility that in the beginning there was a pretty open mindset by the school board,” he said. “To be able to use it even in areas that are not school related — we try to bring in students who have been gaining a lot of education and background in [technical, behind-the-scenes work] because they can use that in a career somewhere.”
“We do pay our students … there is an understanding there that this a career-like aspect for them,” Shroyer said.
More parking will also be available closer to this year’s venue compared to last year.
The fine arts center also has easier access to handicapped seating then previous venues.