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Jacksonville schools getting major overhaul...band director looks back

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 10:12pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 11:34pm

Construction crews are all over Jacksonville giving JISD facilities a major overhaul.

Fred Douglas Elementary is getting a new cafeteria and expanding the library.

Also - a gym that wasn't promised in the bond.

Joe Wright Elementary and East Side Elementary -- both of which were mostly built in 1939 -- are getting completely replaced with brand new campuses.

Jacksonville High School is getting a new cafeteria for their growing student population, 8 new science labs and hallways to connect the buildings.

JISD Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell tells KETK the finish date for everything is hopefully not far off.

"Very ambitious from the start, our goal has been to be there from the first day of school next year," Wardell said.

One of the groups benefiting from the new JISD construction is the Jacksonville High School Band.  Longtime director Mike Bullock tells KETK, there's not a lot of room in their old band hall...they're getting a new band hall out of the deal.

Bullock has been the band director for the past 18 years...he says back in the 60s, they were having band in a portable building -- and much to the director of the time's glee, they finally moved in to what was either an old shop class or an old cafeteria, he's not sure which...and that's where they've been ever since.

"He said the day they moved in it was too small!  But he was so glad to get out of that portable, he took whatever they had," Bullock said.

After decades in the small room filled with trophies, instruments, uniforms, even some familiar faces on the wall, the band hall will be moving to the newly renovated old cafeteria...a much larger space for them.

Bullock, who is going into a semi-retirement next year will still be doing some work in the new band hall.  We asked him if it was bittersweet leaving behind a room that's filled with so many memories.

"You know, to imagine the music that's been created in this room through the years...um...you can almost hear it echoing...even now," Bullock said.

Bullock says the band hall is the one thing that won't be finished at the beginning of the school year, because of the renovations they're doing to it.

He says it should be ready later on in the schoolyear.

 

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