“Walton is what it is, not because of the bricks and mortar, but because of the teachers, and the parents, and the kids who strive for excellence,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson as he helped celebrate the official opening of a new Walton High School building.
U.S. Senator Isakson joined Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, Cobb County School District Board members and hundreds of others for a ribbon cutting of the $48 million structure built with Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars approved by voters in March of 2013.
“The community came out and voted for SPLOST. We have the opportunity to construct a great facility like this one,” Superintendent Chris Ragsdale told the audience of about 250 people who came to the ribbon cutting ceremony and to tour the new facility.
The next phase of the SPLOST IV project at Walton will include a performing arts center and athletic buildings. Completion of the entire project, which is being constructed by Gilbane Building Company, is slated for early 2019.
“I want to thank this community immensely for your support,” said Scott Sweeney, CCSD Board Vice Chair. “Without SPLOST, this building would not be a reality.”
After a warm welcome from Principal Judy McNeill and Sweeney, nearly 20 people helped the Superintendent Ragsdale, U.S. Senator Isakson, and the CCSD board cut the ribbon. They included: U.S. Representative Karen Handel; State School Superintendent Richard Woods; Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott; Cobb County Board Chair David Chastain, Board Members David Banks, Randy Scamihorn, and Brad Wheeler; Nick Parker, Senior Executive Director of CCSD SPLOST; Michael Brown, P.E., SVP Southeast for Gilbane Building Company; Dr. Mark Elgart, CEO AdvanceED; Matt Hines, Project Manager for Gilbane Building Company; Hope Kagan, Walton Student Government President; Peter Minetos, Walton High School Senior Class President; Brian Steed, VP Operations, LEED AP with Gilbane Building Company; Bob Sussenbach, Architect.
“Walton High School is a special place within the fabric of Cobb County and American education,” said Elgart, one of the speakers at the event. “It is, without reservation, one of the finest high schools in our nation because of the engaged community committed to a culture of excellence. Such an honor and distinction can only be further enhanced by this wonderful facility.”
Sen. Isakson echoed those sentiments.
“Our children are a message that we send to a time you and I will never see. And, how good a message we send depends a lot on the educational foundation those kids get. I am confident in the message that kids of Walton High School will send to the generations ahead. And, the message will be a message that you and I will be very proud to be a part of.”