Photo courtesy of Kris Lidinsky, School of the Arts Foundation

Once completed, this sign will connect to new fencing on either side and read “Dreyfoos School of the Arts.” Construction of the project is expected to culminate in January 2018.

The days of lost parents frantically searching Google Maps for the main entrance to Dreyfoos are over—the School of the Arts Foundation (SOAFI) is funding the construction of a new gate and sign located at the entrance to the parking lot. Construction began in late August, but was delayed due to Hurricane Irma.

“[The entrance gate] will feature signage on either side,” SOAFI executive director Kris Lidinsky said. “Dreyfoos has very little signage. For anybody who wants to find this school, the only signage that we have is on the very top of the middle of the administration building.”

Organizing this major construction project has been no easy task; the board of the Foundation began thinking about an addition of this kind “about five years ago,” according to Ms. Lidinsky. What started out as a simple brainstorming session eventually evolved into a full-scale campus enhancement plan.

Graphic courtesy of Kris Lidinsky, School of the Arts Foundation
After the project is completed, this sign will be visible to those who drive in and out of the north entry parking lot. “[The sign] is going to be done fairly soon now,” SOAFI executive director Kris Lidinsky said. “It should be a nice addition to the school.”
“[SOAFI] started thinking about various things we [could] do, and from there we had an architect that came and looked at the school and gave us some ideas about ways that we could beautify the outside of [Dreyfoos], and this was one of his ideas,” Ms. Lidinsky said.

The entirety of the endeavor was funded by SOAFI board member and attorney Edward Ricci. According to Lidinsky, Ricci once said that “the entrance to the Pahokee Prison looks nicer than when you come on to Dreyfoos School of the Arts.” Mr. Ricci donated money for the construction of the gate, signage, and fencing five years ago during the early stages of planning.

“This is one of the things that [Mr. Ricci] has wanted to do since the beginning,” Ms. Lidinksy said. “His hope was for other people to maybe do some other improvements around the school, as well.”

Photo courtesy of Kris Lidinsky, School of the Arts Foundation
The architectural plans for the north entry improvements show the exact location of the new gate, sign, and fencing. These blueprints were drawn up about a year and a half prior to the beginning of the construction process.

The entrance itself will feature a sign with two piers, modeled after the historic wall and arch surrounding the front of the school, and a marquee reading “Dreyfoos School of The Arts,” with extended fencing on either side. The fencing will then connect to decorative gates, which will replace the existing ones that open into the student services parking lot.

“I think that [the new entrance] is going to be good for the external appearance of the school, especially on that side,” communications sophomore Nikolas Zimmerman said. “For the past years, it has just been a normal gate, but I don’t think that represents our school very well.”

Additionally, the design plan includes a pedestrian crosswalk connecting the entrance of Dreyfoos to the other side of the street.

“[Our goal is to] eventually extend fencing and piers all the way around the campus,” Ms. Lidinsky said.

While it has taken a while to get the construction underway, Ms. Lidinsky says SOAFI would like to gather funds for future projects “one piece at a time.” For now, though, they hope to finish construction on the current project in early to mid-January.

“Architecturally, [Dreyfoos] is so detailed,” Zimmerman said. “I feel that the new entrance will add to the overall structure and appearance of the school.”