High School Becomes Building Site

Abigail Neulinger

In 2020, the R31- 2020 Bond Issue received voter approval to help fund several construction projects around the district of Rolla. Planned projects for Rolla High School include new, larger instrumental and vocal classrooms, the conversion of the current main gym into an 800 seat auditorium, and a fieldhouse with approximately 2000 seats. With the increasing number of students in the fine arts and athletic programs, the new facilities will allow room for such growth. With so many people, larger spaces are needed to help keep the environment safe and enjoyable for the students and staff.
“166 students signed up for band this semester,” said RHS band director Michael Goldschmidt. “… and It’s going to be safer. First off, if we had to have a fire drill during the middle of band class, or if there was an emergency fire, I can’t imagine how long it would take us to get every student out of that band room.”
The sheer amount of students make drills or emergencies extremely difficult and dangerous for the student’s health and safety. Construction for RHS began in the early weeks of January. On January 10, Blossom Basket Florist and Peak Sport and Spine were demolished to begin construction of the new fieldhouse. Now that demolition is underway, parking is more challenging for both the teachers and students.
“All of the parking on the Cedar Street side, adjacent to the building, will go immediately,” updated assistant superintendent Kyle Dare at the board meeting.
Teacher parking will be shifted to the south side of the main office, and student parking will be shifted towards the football field. Student pick up/drop off will be moved in front of the main office to accommodate for the old site being blocked off for construction. RHS students can expect to see construction over the next three years, along with some disturbances while in their math classrooms.
Students all around RHS are excited to see the changes and advancements to their respective programs as the construction begins. The band room was constructed when the band student population was less than half of what it is now. As the program continues to grow, the needs exceed what RHS can provide at the current moment.
“We [Rolla Bands] really do need the space,” stated junior Kate Potter. “However, I am sad that I won’t get to experience it.”
Coaches and directors are excited and thankful for what the new facilities will bring to the athletic programs for the high school.
“As an assistant track coach, I’ve observed firsthand how living in Missouri brings challenges for outdoor sports due to drastic changes in our weather. Our indoor facilities are often limited due to having to share spaces with other sports and groups. So training momentum is often paused, and we lose what we’ve worked so hard to build up,” commented Cyndi Kinder, assistant track coach. “Bulldog nation has more than earned the blessing of finally being able to have a facility similar to the other schools we compete against within our conference.”
The estimated completion date is in 2024, so current freshman and sophomores should be able to see and use the new facilities. The new additions to the building will help future students reach their full potential in many aspects; whether it be sports or music, they will be able to further their education in the subjects they enjoy.