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Building Elevate Rock School in a new location!

By December 2, 2020Company News

Elevate Rock School is moving to a new location at 4650 Agassiz Crossing S. in south Fargo, built by us at Heritage Homes and launching a music-focused preschool.

Elevate Rock School, which offers afterschool music lessons for children, is planning to open a new location at 4650 Agassiz Crossing S., co-owner Lisa Niemiller said. The new location will replace Elevate’s current space, which they’ve occupied since 2011 in the Liberty Square plaza at 4480 23rd Ave. S.

“We’re going to continue what we have been doing, which are music lessons, kids playing in the band and learning fundamentals on their instruments,” Niemiller said. “We’re also going to be opening a preschool. During the day, we’ll be able to offer a musical preschool.”

The preschool will expand on Elevate’s current Lil’ Peeps program, which is an introductory program for three-year-old to kindergarten-aged children. The preschool will take place during the day and include standard academic elements with an emphasis on music.

“We’re really excited to offer that side of it,” Niemiller said.

The goal of the preschool is to immerse children in music at a young age, Niemiller continued. “Our main focus is to support our youth in our community and make sure students have access to music,” she said. “We know how special it can be.”

In addition to the expanded Lil’ Peeps program, Elevate Rock School will carry over Lil’ Rockers program, tailored for students between seven and eight years old, and its Rock Band, designed for students ages seven to 17. Elevate also offers scholarships for those in need of financial assistance through a partnership with Excite Music, a local nonprofit.

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic while planning for the move has proven to be “tricky,” Niemiller said. Elevate Rock School mirrored Gov. Doug Burgum’s March school closure, which meant moving its entire operation online in a span of 24 hours.

Though Niemiller conservatively estimated that student enrollment dropped 30% almost immediately, she said that Elevate’s families have been supportive through what has been a trying period for Fargo’s small businesses.

“We had many, many people stick with us and support us,” she said. “We had all of our families stick by us.”

Several families continued music instruction at no charge because Niemiller and her husband Bryce felt the children needed to maintain a sense of normalcy. “We really wanted to have their kids have something to do,” she said.

Since returning to the studio, Elevate has been conducting small classes of either one or two students, requiring masks, using air purifiers and placing plastic barriers in between students. The school still offers virtual classes for those who are uncomfortable coming in or live outside of Fargo.

Plans for the new facility predated the pandemic, however, and with loans and city approval secured, Niemiller didn’t want to put off the opportunity to expand.

“Bryce and I just looked at each other and said ‘Well, it’s certainly not good timing, but we’ve been working so hard at this,'” she said. “How can we say no?”

Project costs for the new building were budgeted to be in excess of a half-million dollars, the building permit indicated.

“When we applied for the funding for the building, everything was rolling as normal. We were doing great and having one of our best years ever,” Niemiller said. “We’re jumping in with both feet and hoping that everything comes together and this all turns around soon.”

Niemiller is optimistic the new school will be ready to open in the spring, though an exact date is yet to be determined.

“We are passionate about youth and music education,” Niemiller concluded. “We love teaching kids about their instrument in a fun and innovative way and can’t wait to explore it more in our new space.”

Article written by Thomas Evanella from The Forum and photo by David Samson from The Forum. To view the full article, click here.

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