The Journal Gazette
Thursday, June 03, 2021 1:00 am

SACS seeking musical upgrade

Homestead funding to buy instruments

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

As progress continues on the Homestead High School renovation, Southwest Allen County Schools is preparing to devote a portion of the project's $169 million budget to musical instruments.

Legal advertisements set to run Friday and June 11 are seeking bids for new instruments and accessories, including tenor saxophones, tubas, bass drums and snares, per board approval Tuesday.

The district can pay for the items – many of which are specific to marching band – through the Homestead project because its budget includes dollars for furniture, fixtures and equipment, Jim Coplen told the board last month. He is the SACS employee acting as project manager.

The high school renovation is being done in five phases. The performing arts areas are included in the second phase, which is expected to be completed next summer, Coplen said.

At least two local vendors know about the district's need for the instruments and related protective equipment, such as cases, Coplen said.

Bids are due June 22. A recommendation will be brought to the board for approval July 13.

In an unrelated matter, Homestead leaders are awaiting board action regarding fundraising for new marching band uniforms.

Such a request would typically be made in the fall, but Homestead would like to begin fundraising this summer, Principal Park Ginder said.

Homestead is a longtime marching band powerhouse. In 2019, the Spartan Alliance qualified for the state finals for the 33rd consecutive year, and its 236 members took third in Class A. It hasn't finished below fourth place in almost 30 years.

The program has had only three uniforms in its 51-year history, with the current uniforms going on their 16th season, band director Bryen Warfield said in a memo to the board.

“While we have worked to maintain the quality of the uniform, we have surpassed the point of necessity for a new set of uniforms for the future,” Warfield said.

Homestead wants to purchase a prototype from Fred J. Miller that promises to help the band program “create a modern and fresh identity for the future,” Warfield said.

Parents would lead fundraising efforts “to purchase 50% of the cost of uniforms ($60,000),” Warfield said.

Warfield explained that Fred J. Miller only requires half the cost to begin manufacturing.

The uniforms would debut fall 2022.

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