BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — David Woodley doesn't have to cancel practice because of weather anymore. In a quarter century as director of Indiana University's Marching Hundred, the band has never had a true indoor rehearsal space until now.

This is the first football season the band will get to use Ray E. Cramer Marching Hundred Hall. Located at the corner of 17th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, the 30,000-square-foot building has restrooms, locker rooms, storage space and multiple rehearsal rooms. One of those rehearsal rooms is large enough for all the band's 300 members, allowing Woodley to still have practice, even when it rains.

"It made for a stronger band camp," he said. "We were able to do everything we wanted to do."

The band has needed an indoor rehearsal space for some time. Marching Hundred is a class in IU's Jacobs School of Music. It meets outdoors, and adverse weather would result in a cancellation.

"I don't know of too many chemistry classes that have to be canceled because of lightning," Woodley said.

Before Marching Hundred Hall was built, the band bounced around from the IU Auditorium basement, to an area underneath the west stands of Memorial Stadium, to a building near the IU Campus Children's Center. When that building was repurposed for the IU Data Center, the band moved to an old church at the corner of Fee Lane and the Ind. 45/46 bypass. It was a fine storage space, but the sanctuary wasn't large enough for rehearsals.

Woodley credits IU President Michael McRobbie with recognizing the Marching Hundred's needs and getting plans in place to address them. A couple of anonymous donors committed significant amounts of money to give the project momentum. Now, the band has its own $10 million facility.

Named after a former band director, the Ray E. Cramer Marching Hundred Hall has an 8,000-square-foot rehearsal space. The room is soundproof and has two projection screens and a closed-circuit TV system, so groups in smaller rehearsal rooms, such as the Red Steppers dance team, can see what the band is doing. The two groups collaborate for performances at football games.

While the new facility will provide several tangible benefits, it also sends a powerful message to the people who use it.

"What it did for the students is show the university is behind them and what they do," Woodley said.

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Source: The Herald-Times

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com