Avoiding Mistakes when Building a New Music Facility

Avoiding Mistakes when Building a New Music Facility


When band director Andrew Buttermore learned that he would be involved in the planning for a brand new high school in Ames, Iowa, he turned to the Wenger Planning Guide for School Music Facilities. The guide helped him explain and illustrate to the architects, district administrators, and other stakeholders the importance of factors such as increased cubic footage, secure storage, and optimal acoustics. Andrew was able to successfully argue for many of the recommendations included in the Wenger guide and since the new Ames High School opened in 2022, he and his students have been enjoying the benefits.



The new Ames High School music suite includes 2 large rehearsal rooms for band, which can be combined into one room when rehearsing their 260+ student marching band. There are also large rooms for orchestra and choir, each with their own storage areas outfitted with Wenger UltraStor® cabinets. A small ensemble room is used for jazz bands, private instruction, and other small group rehearsals, and integrated practice rooms are scattered throughout the music wing.



Walking into the new performing arts center at Ames High School feels like touring a college fine arts facility more than a high school. From the massive custom Diva® Acoustical Shell to the theatrical lighting and rigging, to the variable acoustic curtains, the hall can easily host a variety of musical and theatrical performances, all with optimal acoustics and professional theatrical capabilities.



District administrators involved in the planning were grateful for the expertise Buttermore provided regarding what equipment and design features would be needed at each phase of planning and construction. Buttermore is in his 26th year of teaching band, and he is an alumnus of the original Ames High School, so getting this project right at the outset was important to him. His experience in technical theatre was also a great asset in knowing what to specify for the new performing arts center. The Wenger planning guides were a way for him to easily translate his expertise into images and language that he could easily share during the planning process.



All the Wenger Planning Resources are available to download on their website at https://www.wengercorp.com/checklists.php