Ceremoniously breaking ground on a new band hall for the Woodsboro Independent School District marked a milestone in Hurricane Harvey recovery for a community that saw extensive damage from the storm more than three years ago.
"There’s still a lot of damage around town; you’ll see when you drive around," Woodsboro ISD band director Sherry Marshall said. "You can see changes every week."
The groundbreaking Tuesday means construction can begin on the more than $1.5 million building that will house a band hall, music lab for elementary classes, practice rooms, storage, and an office for Marshall.
“It’s a pretty big deal," she said. "It’s been a long time coming, and there’s nothing anybody could do about delays. But it’s kind of nice to see the (construction) fences up and the forward movement.”
Band students echoed Marshall's enthusiasm.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement about it," Woodsboro High School junior Roger Gonzalez said. "It’s kind of like a moment of recognition. I felt like, for a long time, that band’s been put on the back burner."
"It’s about time!" senior Jessee Dunnivan exclaimed simply.
Marshall and Woodsboro ISD Superintendent Janice Sykora worked with WKMC Architects to come up with the plans for the 6,000 sq. ft. building. Money from FEMA and insurance payouts from the hurricane are paying for the project that's slated for completion by June 2021.
“They will be so happy to have a new home,” Sykora said of her school district's band students.
Band activities originally were moved to a different school room following the band hall's destruction in August 2017. They've since been held in a portable building that can get cramped with the band's 24 members and their instruments.
"We’ve kind of struggled together," Marshall said. "But when you have good kids, it’s kind of easy.”