Indian Hill Board of Education approves design work for performing arts and wellness facilities

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The Indian Hill Board of Education has approved detailed design work to begin on a project that will create an expanded performing arts space within the new Indian Hill Middle School building and a wellness space within Indian Hill High School. In a four to one vote, Board members confirmed the decision to continue working with MSA Design on the plans, which will be a separate project from the current master facilities plan that is under construction.

“This is a moment in history when the Board can act to invest in world-class facilities for future generations of not only our students, but also our community,” said Indian Hill Board of Education President Bear Tullis. “This is a separate construction project from the ongoing facilities work, yet, because of the new build for Indian Hill Middle School, this project is possible and would be a complement to the plans that are already under construction.”

The Indian Hill School District first engaged MSA Design to research the possibility of expanding performing arts facilities in 2010 as part of the Auxiliary Facilities Master Plan. The potential for creating the spaces within the same timeframe as the construction of the new Indian Hill Middle School building was proposed during community engagement sessions over the past school year. MSA Design and the District met with more than 300 stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and community partners during more than 50 engagement sessions since May of 2021.

According to MSA Design, the addition of the new performing arts space would create:
• Dedicated state-of-the-art music rooms for choral, band, and orchestra with controlled natural light and view to outside
• Additional practice and ensemble rooms directly connected to music rooms
• Storage for instruments, equipment, music, and uniforms
• Shared common areas outside rooms for group gatherings, social interaction, and small performances with views into the music spaces

Additionally, the new wellness space would create:
• Dedicated and expanded space for strength and conditioning, cardio, and fitness
• A large open multi-purpose training area
• Expanded training and rehab facilities
• Flexible meeting rooms for coaches, athletes, and staff
• Storage for athletic and team equipment, uniforms

The Board of Education indicated the cost for this additional work should not exceed $12 million.

“The time to act is now, and we are doing so, but with caution,” said Tullis. “This investment allows the Board to get both the details on the design and also assess potential future construction costs while we reconcile our current construction budget, which is important given the market conditions. The Board will gather all of the information first and then make a decision if we will move forward with a construction contract for this project.

“Additionally, we want our stakeholders to know that we are looking at multiple options for potential funding for this project, including the possibility to partner with private donors for portions of the work. We are taking everything into consideration at this time.”

“We operate a nationally recognized K-12 music program; we invite our community throughout the year to join us for performances that rival those of elite programs at the university level,” said Indian Hill CEO/Superintendent Kirk Koennecke. “The proposed arts space would allow us to expand both our offerings to students and our opportunities for community performances by equipping us with a small performance theatre, also known as a black box. The proposed wellness space would create a dedicated exercise facility for all of our stakeholders to use – which was a benefit that our original middle school building offered.”

The performing arts space would be used to educate a minimum of 400 students in grades 6-12 each school year, including potential use for music, theatre, visual arts, Indian Hill Television Network (IHTN) production, and academic presentations. The Board of Education plans to assess the financial implications of the additions over the next six months.