By Alicia Couch Payne

The new Buford High School Performing Arts Center seen here just before sunset. Photo credit: Alicia Couch Payne

Buford High School has a tradition of supporting fine arts at the school dating back nearly 100 years, nurtured by people like Daisy Shadburn. The first auditorium for the Buford City School System was built in 1926 and was the city’s cultural center.  The new BHS Performing Arts Center will open this fall, 93 years after the first auditorium opened.

The school system excels in three areas: academics, athletics, and the arts; the three state-of-the-art buildings on the new campus reflect this.

For Buford City School System’s Fine Arts Coordinator Dr. Chris Fowler, this has been a labor of love. The building’s design was conceived by Fowler with input from teachers in the school’s performing arts program.

“We were not just constructing a building, but building a legacy that will last well beyond my time here,” said Fowler.

The band room can hold up to 150 students comfortably and has adjacent rooms for instrument and uniform storage, practice rooms, a percussion room, and more. Photo credit: Alicia Couch Payne

The Performing Arts building holds suites of classrooms for chorus, dance, band, and theatre, with connecting rooms for offices, prop and costume storage, instrument storage, dressing rooms, and smaller group practice rooms. 

The dance classroom has a wall of mirrors and barres for the dancers to practice routines. The band room has custom storage for uniforms, three practice rooms, a percussion room, and climate-controlled instrument storage

The theatre is the building’s gem with stadium seating and a massive stage rivaling most college stages. With acoustic sound panels, there’s not a bad seat in this 950-seat theatre.

The 950-seat theatre is the Performing Arts Center’s crown gem. Photo credit: Alicia Couch Payne

The production equipment, lighting and sound systems, audio and visual recording equipment are all state of the art, designed and purchased with ease of use in mind. Both the sound and lighting systems have control panels on the stage so virtually anyone can enter the theatre and select a numbered button to bring up programmed settings. The school didn’t want to construct a catwalk over the seats in the theatre to be able to adjust lighting nor did they want to have to bring in a lift to clean them. Instead, they installed the lighting attached to a hydraulic system that will lower the entire row of lights all the way to where a student can stand on the floor near the seats and adjust the lights. 

The thought and planning put into this building are mind-blowing. To include all the details would require much more space than we have here. The students of the Performing Arts program at Buford High School will be the envy of other programs around the state. The Buford community, City Commission, and the Board of Education have shown their level of commitment to the performing arts students in the creation of this building. Dr. Fowler humbly states, “We are blessed beyond words.”

All photos credit Alicia Couch Payne

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by ExactMetrics