Enrollment has jumped in the Valdosta (Ga.) City School District in 2017-18, and Superintendent Todd Cason believes the new high school opening next year is one of the reasons.
The Valdosta Daily Times reports that the school system ended 2016-17 with 8,103 students. The first of this week, the system had 8,297 students, an increase of almost 200.
Cason says more people are choosing the district for their kids in anticipation of the $83 million Valdosta High School, now under construction and scheduled to be up and running for 2018-19.
“The excitement is in the air,” Cason says.
The new high school is sprawled across a 110-acre campus. The school’s buildings range from one story to three; the focal point is a three-story administration dome. Inside, the dome will contain a large open space walled in by glass, giving all three stories a view of the dome’s center.
The design uses modern glass and fiberglass window treatments to admit large amounts of daylight. The buildings, which include a fine arts facility, wrap around a central courtyard of sidewalks, covered canopies and an outdoor eating area. The indoor cafeteria will seat 800 people, and the media center will have a coffee bar.
Administrators expected a student increase next year, Cason says, but it has come early.
“We were not expecting that surge this year,” he says. “It caught us a little bit by surprise.”
The district is “working feverishly” to address crowding issues, Cason says, especially at the middle school, which saw the biggest enrollment increase — more than 125 students.
The architect is Altman + Barrett, and the builder is JCI-Parrish Construction Management.