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OPINION: Time to tear down 'Ghettotorium'

By A.J. Krumholz

On behalf of the MHS fine arts department students

We should be the first to address the rash statements of Mr. Rod Hall. Mr. Hall seems to have a problem with Dr. Joe Graves and his actions pertaining to events at the school board meetings. In Hall's crusade against Graves, the plans for the much-needed fine arts center are impeded upon. I ask Hall where his concerns were concerning large expenditures when the new football stadium was erected? The Mitchell High School Kernels went a mere 3-5 this past season, and the franchise is rewarded with a brand new stadium.

Meanwhile, Friend De Coup, ranked No. 21 in the nation's best show choirs, is forced to practice in an auditorium that has the stench of sewer more often than it does not. An auditorium in which the ceiling is so low, whenever platforms are used, the temperatures get unnecessarily hot and could even reach the point of dangerous.

Ron Grimsley, the coach of the MHS debate team, hosts the McGovern Debate Tournament at MHS and uses the embarrassing auditorium. Grimsley had this to offer on the auditorium, "As the coach of an extracurricular activity, I have been to numerous school auditoriums. Our MHS auditorium ranks at the very bottom and reflects poorly on our district."

As a debater, I find it extremely embarrassing to have other schools in our auditorium, as it is in such ruin that it speaks poorly of the institution itself. The debate community knows it by its colloquial name, "The Ghettotorium," referencing the slum-like style of our performance space.

The auditorium is loved by only a few things: the dead bats in the ceiling where the lighting equipment is stationed and where varieties of fungus have made their home. A new fine arts center could pose new opportunities to MHS in the futures. In wondering what we could do with this fine arts center at our disposal, I reached out to James Weaver of the South Dakota High School Activities Association and asked him if a new fine arts center could open the door for Mitchell to host the State One Act Festival, he offered this: "The activities association is always looking for well-designed multi-fine arts facilities for the multitude of fine arts events that we offer."

Now, it is no "yes," but it is a possibility that we could be in the running. That we will be in a new building could put us in the running for hosting the One Act Festival and other fine art events that SDHSAA offers.

Mitchell has a lot to benefit by allowing the fine arts program to grow. Students at Mitchell High School are often turned away from fine arts because of our "Ghettotorium." We fix the building, the program will grow, as well as the school and city benefitting in the long run.

Mr. Hall, I assure you the Corn Palace is no place for fine arts and is not built for fine arts; this offered by Melissa Miller in her professional opinion. As such, the Pepsi-Cola theatre is booked year round.

We, the students of Mitchell High School, only wish to offer a more experienced view to this debate. We ask that the whims of men long past their experience with the school stop offering misrepresentations of the school to the community.

Simply put, Mitchell needs this fine arts center.

-- A.J. Krumholz, of Mitchell, is a junior at Mitchell High School.