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MHS auditorium space to be used as overflow

Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves walks through the main theater area that will feature multiple balconies and seat approximately 1200 people in the new fine arts center in June. (Matt Gade/Republic)

With the construction of the Performing Arts Center well underway, school officials are considering uses for the high school's old theater.

According to Superintendent Joseph Graves, the Mitchell High School Auditorium space will be used temporarily for overflow. Graves said classes can use it for meetings, and it will also serve as a practice space. With three or four different band and choir groups in need of space to practice, the auditorium will do just that.

That's just a short term solution.

"We're still analyzing for once we're moved over," Graves said. "But for the time being, it will be for practice, class meetings and other functions."

The auditorium seats about 500 people, but the new $15.3 million performing arts center will seat more than double that amount with 1,200. The move-in date for the center is set for Christmas break, and according to Graves, as of Thursday, everything is still on track.

Puetz Corporation broke ground on the 67,000-square-foot performing arts center in June 2015.

With the extra boost in space for the arts in Mitchell, the center will allow for more competitions to be held in Mitchell that couldn't before, including the state show choir competition.

The previous space in the auditorium was not large enough to host some competitions. Now, according to Activities Director Cory Aadland, the new space provides more opportunities.

"My main goal in this position is to improve and increase the opportunities for our students and this is just one more thing, because of that building, we are able to provide for our students," Aadland said. "We'll be able to perform at the home in front of all our friends and family and all of those kinds of things."

Aadland said the district has been able to host statewide competitions in the past, but because of changes and requirements for hosting schools in certain competitions, the auditorium didn't meet standards anymore.

But now, specifically for the show choir competition that is slated for April 2018 in Mitchell, that has changed.

"When we've got the best show choir group in the state, it's nice to be able to host those things at home," Aadland said.