Nevada High School band and vocal students have been in their updated digs for about two weeks, and their instructors couldn’t be happier with the way the improvements to the music rooms have turned out.

Band Director Wade Presley said his number-one request was to have the risers, which had been part of the old band room design, removed to improve space for students. Those risers were removed and all new flooring was put in, which Presley said has greatly enhanced the space in the room.

Both Presley and new vocal instructor, Shawna Dumbaugh, agree that the rooms, which haven’t increased in space but were given fresh looks in the remodeling project, now have better acoustics. Before, Presley said, the band room sounded "kind of dead." Now, he said, the room has "more life."

The music area, which sits behind (to the north) the field house in the high school building was one of the last areas worked on in the overall remodel of Nevada High School.

Next week, during Homecoming, the school will be open Friday, Sept. 27, from 5-7 p.m. for anyone from the public to come in and view the completed updates and additions to the building. The remodel has been going on through three phases of construction that began during the 2008-2009 school year, when one of the first projects was the digging of geothermal wells under the parking lot area. Overall cost of the improvements and additions, not including the safe room and auditorium, are approximately $17 million.

During the past five years, improvements/updates have been made to all existing classroom and instructional areas; classrooms have been added on to the west end of the building; administrative offices, a safe room/practice area and auditorium have been added; a new area for the computer/tech offices has been developed and the cafeteria/kitchen area of the school is being expanded. That cafeteria/kitchen area is the final major project to be completed, and it is slated for completion by this December. Also still being worked on are improvements to a much expanded, two-part art room that will feature a separate ceramics area.

"People who haven’t seen any of the remodel before will be amazed by how different the building appears," said High School Principal Justin Gross. "The building looks like a brand new facility."

Gross came to Nevada a few years ago and has been able to watch the project unfold. "The transformation is astonishing. The auditorium and safe room are always big hits, since these are the brand new structures. The newly remodeled art room is also a must-see."

While he said students will probably appreciate and enjoy various things about the changes, Gross said the staff is enjoying the new technology upgrades to their classrooms and the natural light that they all have in their classrooms now.

For those who wish to come to the open house, Gross said they can enter at the main doors to the high school to start their tour. For those who can’t make it to this open house, the school does plan to have another opportunity once the cafeteria/kitchen area is completed.

Opening these areas up for public viewing is important to school officials who know that without community support, these improvements wouldn’t be possible.

"We are extremely appreciative of the community for their commitment to improving the facilities for our students," Gross said.