In 2010, an expansion almost doubled the size of the existing building, said Principal Craig Shreckengast. The new building has a typical academic structure, differing from the existing church structure.
Shreckengast said the project allowed for real science labs to be added. Before this, students were not able to do as many complex experiments.
Marketing director Laura Kinkade said a new gym for physical education was built because no sports are offered at FWAFA.
In addition to new classrooms for academics, each artistic department has seen growth, said Stephen Madrid, director of fine arts.
Another dance room was added for ease of rehearsal scheduling. Before the expansion, dance classes were held in a room near the auditorium and on the stage.
The stage rehearsals would often conflict with the theater department. The expansion allows for each department to practice more easily.
The new dance room includes an office for both dance instructors, Sheyna Ferraro and Shelly Torres.
“Prior to expansion, the desks were out in the open and nothing was secure,” Ferraro said.
“The new room has high ceilings with high windows, allowing for natural light to come into the room,” she said. “The light stimulates positive energy from the students.”
Kinkade said new choir rooms were added for the Texas Boys Choir, the Singing Girls of Texas and the Children’s Choir of Texas.
The extra rooms allow the choirs to have rehearsals simultaneously, rather than rotating spaces.
For theater, the added enrollment allows for additional shows to be produced, said Roger Drummond, technical theater director.
Off to the side of the stage, the Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir room was converted into a shop. Drummond said for him, this was the most significant advantage of the expansion.
The shop allows for a place to store supplies, tools and pieces of sets that can be recycled for other productions.
Downstairs between the new building and old building is where visual arts take place.
Before the expansion there was only one art room, said art instructor Sean Ibañez.
“Now the department has two rooms, but space is still tricky,” he said.
If another expansion were to occur, Ibañez said he would like additional space for storage.
Kinkade said, as a faculty member and a parent, that fine arts are important because they teach discipline and structure.
“Some benefits of having an artistic background are being more articulate, thinking out-of-the-box and being a team player,” Madrid said.