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Performing Arts Center opens
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Senior Chamber Singers Dara Lemley and Katie Sewell wait for the next group of visitors to take on tours through the new Performing Arts Center. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

On Monday evening Dawson County residents got their first look around the new Performing Arts Center on the campus of Dawson County High School.

Students welcomed visitors, held doors and waited to give tours throughout the facility during the open house event that ran from 4 to 6 p.m.

Chamber singer member and junior Jack Trammell enthusiastically greeted and gave detailed information about each area of the facility.

"It's amazing now," he said about the auditorium that he saved for the end of his tour. "It is the most state-of-the-art facility in the district."

Jurassic Park theme music streamed through the speakers as groups made their way through the space while watching the slide show on the large side screens that showed the stages of construction.

After 14 months of construction on the 50,000 square foot facility, the building now houses the art, drama, chorus and band programs for the high school. It is the largest meeting space in Dawson County.

"The building is fabulous," Carla Trammel said. "We've needed this for years."

Students, faculty, elected officials and residents were on hand to explore the building.

"It's kind of crazy though how it happened so fast," said senior Dara Lemley. "One year it felt like we couldn't even afford new textbooks and then the next year we had this whole place and I'm like how did that even happen?"

Lemley and fellow senior Katie Sewell are both a part of the Chamber Singers and say they are excited to be the first group using the facility.

"I like it a lot, this is only the second day we have been it," said Sewell. "It's really pretty though and it sounds so good."

The DCHS Chamber Singers were the first group to perform in the building, according to chorus teacher Spencer Wright.

The first official concert in the space will be a Chamber Singers performance on at 7 p.m. on Oct. 17.

"We are the inaugural class. We are going to get our picture and be put out in the hall," Lemley said. "I am really excited for our first concert in here."

Superintendent Damon Gibbs addressed the crowd and talked about the vision for the students and Dawson County.

Gibbs said the facility would not have been possible without the voters in the community passing the ESPLOST V in March 2015 and the board of education and their dedication to students in the county.

"We love the space," said Wright. "It is an amazing building that is providing and will continue to provide incredible opportunities for the students of Dawson County."

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce was on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the Board of Education holding their monthly board meeting in the auditorium.