A grant to create a new space for performing arts at Moline High School

MOLINE -- The auditorium at Moline High School was built back in 1958. Since that time, it's been a place for students to escape.

"It gives me an outlet for the stresses of the day," saidfreshman Izabel Jernigan.

Jernigan spends a lot of her time in the old auditorium and agrees it's in need of an upgrade.

"The dressing rooms, since it's downstairs, whenever it rains a ton, it will flood," said Jernigan.

A $7 million grant from the Robert E. Bartlett Family Foundation is going to help the district create a new space for students to perform.

"The opportunity to provide them additional advantages, with a facility we envision to be created, would be outstanding," said Moline Principal Dan McGuire.

The district is going to add $3 million to the project with funds from local sales tax.

"(The) Initial intent is to renovate our current space and provide some additional space as well," said McGuire.

For the choir director, a new space to direct hundreds of students means a lot.

"I'm hoping it will draw more people to our fine arts department and I'm hoping that the community will get use out of it and we can just maximize the space as much as possible," said Colleen Callahan, choir director.

Jernagin said it will be bitter-sweet to not have the old auditorium.

"Those memories, they're not gonna be lost, they're just gonna change," said Jernigan.

She is excited and hopeful the change will only make the music better.

The district hopes the Bartlett Performing Arts Center will be open by the start of 2019.