On the grow: Expansion project at Noblesville High School to bring new multi-purpose athletic area


Construction is continuing on a major expansion project at Noblesville High School that will eventually create a new multi-purpose athletic area, including courts, a girls locker room and office space.

The $17.4 million project, which began in January, was driven in part by continued student growth and the fact that more than two-thirds of NHS students participate in either performing arts or athletics, said Craig McCaffrey, principal at NHS.

“We’re just outgrowing our space,” McCaffrey said. “One of my goals as principal is not to have kids come back at nine or 10 o’clock at night because there’s not enough space.”

McCaffrey said the school’s wrestling program has grown in popularity, noting that student-athletes have outgrown their space. He added that students must use the wrestling room and gym space for practices.

The athletic expansion will result in going from two to four mats for wrestling meets and practices, McCaffrey said. It will also create seven total gym courts for student-athletes, one of which can be used for competitions as needed.

Two other floors will be composite, meaning they can be used for golf or batting practices, in addition to being geared for cheerleading or color guard practices as well, McCaffrey said. A three-lane walking track will also be available for use.

Those additions will also be beneficial to students, giving them an opportunity to leave school at a reasonable time rather than staying late, according to McCaffrey.

“We can also allow more (of the) community to use it,” he said.

District officials are funding the athletics expansion project through a general obligation bond that results in no increase to the tax rate, said David Hortemiller, chief financial officer for Noblesville Schools.

The district approached the school board a year ago for the first of several approvals regarding the athletic expansion project, according to Hortemiller, who said officials also received feedback from teachers, coaches and other individuals as part of the process. That information-gathering process was important in determining how much space would be needed for certain areas such as locker rooms, Hortemiller added.

The expansion project will also result in moving the school’s athletic office to the new addition, while the athletic office will be converted into a varsity girls basketball locker room. A health classroom will also be constructed as part of the project, McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey said he hopes the athletics expansion project will also allow for opportunities to shift things around internally within the high school to expand its performing arts programs, which consist of band, choir, color guard and jazz band, among others.

“You’ve got to move A to make room for B,” he said.

The district also plans to add 70,000 square feet of new space for STEM programming, in addition to renovating 37,000 square feet for performing arts. The expansion project would be the largest at NHS since the 2014 freshman center addition and is estimated to cost $39 million, according to the district.

District officials say the proposed expansion would include up to 22 new classrooms, STEM labs, enlarged performing arts spaces, an additional café area, a makerspace, room for large group meetings, storage and more. The school board is expected to vote on the matter sometime this summer.

Construction on the athletic expansion project is expected to be completed in August 2024, while the proposed STEM and performing arts expansion would open in August 2025, according to the district.

2022 09 16 Entry
A rendering of the athletics expansion project at Noblesville High School. (Photo provided by Noblesville Schools)

By the numbers

7: Total number of courts for student athletes

4: Number of mats for wrestling program through expansion

3: Number of lanes available for a walking track