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North Hall High hosts open house in new performing arts center
Seniors Carson McCormack and Tucker Buffington cut the ribbon as North Hall High School hosts an open house in its new performing arts center Thursday evening. The previous North Hall theater was built in the 1970s. - photo by Erin O. Smith

The newest halls at North Hall High School buzzed with excitement Thursday evening, as the school held an open house in its new performing arts center.

Hundreds of students, faculty and families filled the halls, taking tours from band, theater and chorus students and observing performances from various Hall County schools in the new auditorium.

Principal Jamey Moore said the new performing arts center is an upgrade from the old 200-seat theater.

The new, larger auditorium seats 363 people and has better back-of-house areas. The facility also has a new chorus suite, drama suite, construction lab and band suite, with separate practice rooms, equipment rooms, dressing rooms and more.

At the front of the building is a large, spacious atrium, lobby and ticket booth, which will improve traffic before performances.

Nath Morris, Hall school board chair, said the center “has been a long time coming.”

“There were several parents who came to me 10 to 12-plus years ago and said, ‘We need some new fine arts facilities out at North Hall,’” Morris said. “It took a while, but we finally settled down our growth just a little bit, so we’re able to do some things for these older schools.”

The first class at North Hall was in 1958, Morris said. The previous theater was built in the 1970s.

“There’s a lot of the old shell still left here,” he said. “But as far as providing a place for the arts at our schools, this is a great thing.”

The new center sits where the old chorus, band and theater rooms were located, between the school’s two gymnasiums. The center improves security for the campus, as it connects the three spaces into one building.

The construction was funded through education special purpose local option sales tax funds and is the first in a series of performing arts centers to be updated at Hall high schools. East Hall High is on track for the next E-SPLOST-funded arts renovation.

Construction of the North Hall center, a $5.2 million project, started in June 2015. Construction was delayed from its original timeline because of weather, but it is now ready for students.

“We’re excited about it and anxious for the kids to start using it,” Morris said.