Half a dozen students were playing piano, but the room was silent.
The students sat at keyboards, headphones in their ears, reading sheet music.
In nearby classrooms, students were learning about art and musical notes. In the library, students read books near a wall of windows that overlook downtown Omaha.
Outside, workers still are adding limestone to the Arts and Library addition to the century-old Central High School in downtown Omaha.
After returning last month from spring break, Central students and staff started using the $19.3 million addition, which was paid for with private funds in a campaign directed by the Central High School Foundation.
The Omaha Public Schools provided $5.5 million for the renovation work inside the existing building and to provide furniture and fixtures for the addition. The money came out of the district’s site and building fund.
The addition includes a digital library, a 300-seat black box theater, visual and performing arts spaces and instrumental, vocal music and drama classrooms.
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The space in the school that previously housed the library and arts programs will be repurposed for special education students and English language learners.
Concerned that the addition would clash with the school’s neoclassical style, designers used limestone on the outside walls.
And to match the rest of the building, the addition has such features as penny tile, marble, granite, wood floors and exposed brick.
A Central C is on the floor of the addition, and Central’s purple accents are in the carpet, furniture and walls.
The addition also has some 21st-century upgrades such as a maker space in the library that will have a 3-D printer.
Those driving or walking past the high school will notice that construction work continues on the outside of the addition. Michele Roberts, executive director of the high school’s foundation, said that will be completed this summer.
A ribbon cutting will be held Thursday at the school.