HomeNewsBelles, band hopeful for new facility after years of crowding

Belles, band hopeful for new facility after years of crowding

Since 1988, the Ornelas Health and Physical Education Center has been a place the Apache Belles and the Apache Band have called home, but now a change is about to come.In 2011, Tyler Junior College will break ground on a new building for the Apache Belles and Band.Most people believe this project would be one of the best gifts that both organizations could receive.”The new facility would be great because it would be useful to a lot of people, attract a lot of students who support the college and also it would bring a nicer look and feel,” said Jasilyn Schaefer, assistant president of Apache Belle Gold.Over the past couple of years, the two organizations have had changes that have made it difficult for some to function in a small area, such as a bigger staff, more secretaries, more band and belle members, and more prop equipment.”There is no space to function anywhere, store costumes and uniforms, or adequate rehearsal rooms,” said Schaefer.Five years ago some school officials including Fred Carson, Bob Peters, Cheryl Rogers, and Band Director Thomas Mensch came up with the idea to construct a new building specifically for the Apache Belles and Band.”The board of trustees came and toured and it was made apparent that the Belles and band needed a new building,” Schaefer said.Although some might think that this idea was easy to come by, the directors of both organizations and other school officials had to work to get this project off the ground.”We had to have meetings, submit data visuals, and ideas about this project,” said Ruth Flynn, director/choreographer of the Apache Belles.Throughout planning for this project, a lot of people had to push to achieve the goal of getting new accommodations for the Apache Belles and Band.”The new building will definitely expand opportunities of having every Apache Belle at practice at one time,” said Kelcee Guyton, freshman Apache Belle. “Without a bigger practice area, we can’t do our routine full out and it’s hard to achieve our performance without enough space to practice.”One main reason the two organizations are in need of a new building is that there is not enough room to accommodate all the students that participate in the programs.”To date, the band program now has an enrollment of over 190 students, including 50 music majors,” said Mensch.When the OHPE center was built, the band hall of 2,610 square feet was designed for a band program of 75 and a marching band with hardly any storage room for the band and Belles.As of today there are 10 different performing ensembles other than the marching band and 53 Belles that utilize the band hall.”Marching band has no rehearsal place, instructors have no teaching place, and also hearing damage can affect the instrutors and even the students,” said Mensch.A new building might be mandatory for the organizations because the loss of space could lead to more problems.”Inadequate space makes it extremely difficult to accomplish and educate some students on what they need to know for their majors and achieve for their degree plans,” said MenschThe funding to build a new building for the Apache Belles and Band as of now is coming from alumni and donors.”Even though there is no set price for the new building, it will probably be built on Palmer Street, right across from the OHPE Center,” said Kim Russell, vice president, Advancement and External Affairs.In spite of there not being a blueprint of how the facility will look, directors of the programs have come to a clear conclusion of what should be included.”Our wishes for the new faculty would be a wonderful dance studio, props and costume storage, and more offices,” said Flynn.

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