Franklin Special breaks ground on performing arts center, gym


Traditionally a fixed-boundary district, Franklin Special School District is expanding its footprint for the future, taking its first step last week during a groundbreaking ceremony for two major capital projects.

FSSD broke ground on a districtwide performing arts center and the much awaited gymnasium at Poplar Grove School.

“The addition of the PAC enhances our existing vision, while allowing our students to grow and develop their strengths in an incredible facility,” said David Esslinger, associate director for finance and administration.

More:Franklin Special board meets with legislators, gives construction updates

The $16.2 million FSSD Performing Arts Center, a 34,400-square-foot facility, will provide a space for all schools to participate in many types of events including plays, concerts, talent shows and promotion ceremonies. The structure will be built at the north end of Poplar Grove Middle School and will include a 485-seat auditorium with a multipurpose stage, fly loft and performance support spaces, including a pre-performance space, changing rooms and a prop shop.

Franklin Special School District renderings

Performing arts center fulfills vision

The PAC will also include a FSSD Legacy Gallery where the district’s long history will be celebrated.

“The FSSD mission is ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning For All,’ and we are known for our focus on educating the whole child: artistically, musically, physically and academically,” Esslinger said.

The need for additional physical education space at Poplar Grove School was the catalyst for discussions about constructing a performing arts facility.

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