Down the Road: Iowa Great Lakes - SAMI Center/Spirit Lake High School

The name Bedell is synonymous with fishing in the Iowa Great Lakes.But the family has left another legacy in the community, a shining gem called the "Sami Center for the Performing Arts."The center was made possible through a large donation from the family and is named after Tom Bedell's daughter who was in the performing arts during high school."The SAMI Center in Spirit Lake, Iowa is entering its sixth year in operation and it's offering students a unique opportunity to get involved with the performing arts," said Joe Bisaccia of Siouxland News. "The SAMI Bedell Center is a 1000-seat performing arts center that is part of the Spirit Lake School District. It's owned by the school district and I'm the executive director of this facility and I work for a non-profit group called 'The friends of the SAMI.' We're the support group for the performing arts center and Spirit Lake School District. It's kind of a joint venture. It's unique in the sense that the building is owned by the school but is managed by an outside organization. It's kind of the way our school and our community work together," said Executive Director, Terry Miller. The SAMI center features shows from outside groups year round and they also feature a very special and rare musical instrument.This Elton John piano owned by the SAMI Center is one of the 30 in the entire world. It was both signed and played by Sir Elton himself. "It's been played once by Elton John in Las Vegas on stage. Ours in #17 and to our knowledge it's the only one in public use. All the rest of them are in private homes or private institutions. It's a fantastic piano-it's Chinese red, it's unique. We have kids from kindergarten on up, when we do a program it's out on stage. If a community group wants to use it they can. If the professional groups want to use it, which almost all of them do, it's in use," said Miller.

Iowa Rock - N - Roll Music Association will hold its 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sunday August 31st at the SAMI Center.

Besides the Sami Center, Spirit Lake High School has seen some other major improvements over the past few years. The school just unveiled its new weight lifting facility. This is in addition to new field turf that was installed on the football field and track not long ago.The additions were part of a more than one million dollar upgrade to the school's sports complex. Head Football Coach Josh Bolluyt says it's a great asset, especially for the school's upper classmen. "It's great, our kids are just unbelievably lucky to have the facilities we do and they really, really appreciate it and do a great job of taking care of those facilities. We remind them how lucky they are to have the facilities that we have and we're just fortunate. The way the community supports them is unbelievable. It was a $2-million project and it really only cost the school $400-thousand," said Bolluyt. The opening game of the season for Spirit Lake is August 29th.