Back in 2014, the Capital Needs Steering Committee (CNSC) worked to develop the program that would become the 2014 Bond. With about 40 members, including school district employees and volunteers from the community, the committee evaluated Arlington ISD’s capital needs and worked to come up with solutions. Two of the district’s volunteer staff members on the committee could not have imagined at the time how much their work would impact not only the district’s long-term future, but theirs, as well.
Suzanne Dangelmaier was the head swimming coach at Arlington High School in 2014, and Micah Green was an Arlington High teacher soon to become the director of theater arts. Both joined the committee because of their passions, one for swimming and one for theater. And both shared a passion for giving students the best possible opportunities and education.
Fast forward seven years. The 2014 Bond program is complete, and two of its signature projects – the Athletics Center and Center for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), collectively known as the Arts and Athletics Complex – are open and impacting students. The district’s first-ever natatorium, housed in the Athletics Center, is now home to all district swim teams, the district’s new swim club and the district’s new elementary water safety program. And who is leading all of this? Suzanne Dangelmaier, now the Arlington ISD’s natatorium director and aquatics coordinator.
Right next door, the CVPA is providing students a state-of-the-art arts fine education unavailable anywhere else. Among the professional-level spaces in the facility are a concert hall and theater. If you walked into the theater this week, you would get to witness the first annual Junior High One-Act Festival. And who would you see running the show? Micah Green, now Arlington ISD’s fine arts coordinator of theater and dance.
Now that the Athletics Complex and CVPA are open, serving students and winning awards, it’s a good time to look back to 2014 and remember and recognize the efforts of Dangelmaier, Green and all of their fellow committee members. Their legacy actually extends well beyond these two new buildings, from the Career and Technical Center to new school buses, technology, musical instruments and so much more.
We asked Dangelmaier and Green to share some of their memories and thoughts:
Why did you serve on the CNSC back in 2013-2014 and what was your role in the district at the time?
Dangelmaier: I started with the school district in 2002 as Seguin’s head swim coach, and all the high school swim coaches desired to have our own natatorium. Therefore, when the district was looking for people to serve on the bond committee, I wanted to be help Arlington ISD build the best natatorium that would support our students and athletes. I applied to be on the bond committee and was so excited when I was selected to serve on this committee. At the time, I was the Arlington High head swim coach and teaching science.
Green: At the time, I was actually the communications application teacher at Arlington High School. However, I knew that the following year I would be transitioning to the director of theater role at AHS. I served on the CNSC because I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to create an exciting vision for something the district or community has never seen before.
Do you recall discussions about a natatorium and fine arts center at your CNSC meetings?
Dangelmaier: There were several discussions about the natatorium at these meetings and I was able to provide a unique perspective as a long-time high school and USA swimming coach and a former assistant manager at another natatorium.
Green: I absolutely remember discussing the creation of a professional space for the students to experience, which ended up becoming the Center of Visual & Performing Arts. I was inspired by the amount of energy in the room toward the importance of fine arts within the district.
Did you have any idea that your and your committee’s work would lead to the Arts and Athletics Complex and to your current positions and office locations?
Dangelmaier: When I applied and was selected to serve on the committee, I was eager to provide information and support needed to see such a project through to fruition, but I had a hard time imagining the actual magnitude of this project. Then when I was selected to serve as the natatorium director/aquatics coordinator, I was even more excited to be able to continue the hard work of the committee by implementing the programs envisioned for the natatorium.
Green: Zero! But boy am I glad to have seen that come to fruition!
What’s the best thing that came out of the CNSC and what is the impact on students?
Dangelmaier: The best thing that came out the CNSC was twofold: (1) each high school swim team has a place to call “home,” and (2) the ability to provide the elementary water safety day where each third grader comes to the natatorium and learns about being safe in and around bodies of water.
Green: Quite honestly, the best thing that came out of the CNSC is the look on a child’s face as they enter the CVPA for the first time. Or hearing student voices inside the professional Robert G. Copeland Concert Hall. To try to put it into words would do the experience disservice.