McNicol Middle Magnet & STEM, located in Hollywood, Florida, is the only middle school in all of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) that has a sound engineering program on campus.
McNicol Middle is alive with the sound of music after completing major upgrades to their chorus room. The goal was to turn the traditional chorus room into a 21st-century music studio suited for the magnet school’s sound engineering program. The renovations were completed as part of the SMART Bond Program’s $1.6 million investment in the school campus, which also included upgrades to the roof, fire alarm, and HVAC systems.
“Striving for excellence in preparing the high school-ready, college-bound student,” is the McNicol Middle School motto and the focus of their renovations.
To prepare students for a career in sound engineering, the chorus room was revitalized with all the equipment you’d expect in a professional studio such as a soundboard, subwoofers, monitors, amplifiers, microphones, risers, stands, and more. Additionally, through the SMART School Choice Enhancement Program, each school is allocated $100,000 toward upgrades chosen by the school. At McNicol, the dollars were utilized in acquiring furniture and equipment for the new music room, projectors, sound equipment for the gym, and updating the school’s wireless network system.
The upgraded chorus room has given students the opportunity to build community and work together to produce music that they get to perform for an audience. Students have also utilized the upgraded music room to produce several music videos that have been played at graduations and special school screenings. The sound engineering students enthusiastically collaborated with students from other classes, such as dance, drama, and even athletics, to create music videos that allowed them to express their interests.
“It was quite an exciting time for me to observe students going around the school video recording, doing their take 2s, take 3s, and the edits,” said McNicol Middle Principal Deirdre A. Benka-Coker. “I liked how it was hands-on and it was doing something that they enjoyed, making it more applicable to their lives.”
The SMART Program
All SMART campus renovations at McNicol Middle are now complete. The SMART Bond Program has invested approximately $1.4 billion in improving the quality of the BCPS educational experience, making a positive impact on the lives of students and staff.