There's a new facility for students to utilize within the Polk School District now coming open for business for the first time after months of construction wrapped up and gave officials the chance to see the new Agricultural Facility at Rockmart High School inside and out.
Students won't officially be moved into the building and using it full time until the start of the coming calendar year after the summer break ends, but that doesn't mean they won't get a chance to enjoy all the space they now have to become better farmers in the future.
Polk School District officials invited community leaders to come and celebrate the opening of the new Polk County College and Career Academy Agricultural Facility on the campus of Rockmart High School during an April 12 luncheon and ribbon cutting ceremony.
Superintendent Laurie Atkins heaped praises upon Board of Education members, the Polk County Cattlemen's Association, R.K.R. Construction and most importantly of all, the agriculture students who the facility was built to help increase their opportunities in the years to come.
"This building will be a multipurpose building," Atkins said during opening remarks welcoming all to the new facility. "This will not only be a classroom for our students, but a classroom as well for our Young Farmers classes, where
the community will come in and have the opportunity to grow and learn in (the program.) It'll be a place we can rent out as a venue, it'll be a place where we have a show arena and a place were we can hold meetings. This will be a place not just for our school, but for our community."
That meeting area is one particular spot Atkins said she hopes people will utilize in a variety of ways since it will be available for rent for organizations. That process will work just like The Hon Company's Community Meeting Room at the Cedartown campus of the PCCCA.
Additionally, classrooms and catering kitchens are available in the space, but the real centerpiece of the building is the two-thirds or so of the facility that is covered arena space.
"This is a show arena that we can't find anywhere around," Atkins said. "It's fantastic. It can host small rodeos and show teams."
She added the facility will definitely come in handy for the ever-growing number of youth who participate in Polk School District's Livestock Show Team that brings together students from both side of the county.
"We're very proud of it," Atkins said.
The final price tag for the facility was $1.2 million — fully equipped — for the various classroom, banquet room and show arena spaces all grouped together. The building is mostly of metal construction throughout, but architectural details do match the buildings right across the roadway for the main campus area of the high school.
"This has been something the community has looked forward to for our kids," Atkins said. "It's not just a great day for our schools, but our community, because it's a building that can be used for educational purposes with our agriculture program, but also for education for our community. For adults to come and learn about the agriculture processes in the community, to come and learn how to do various things like canning and beekeeping, and things of that nature through our young farmers program. We're excited for Polk County today. "
The construction that began at the start of last school year wrapped up in around 8 months despite weather delays at times, and will officially open for student use starting in the 2019-2020 school year.
"We are so thankful to R.K.R. for staying with the process even through all the rainy seasons that we had," Atkins said.
Assistant Superintendent and PCCCA CEO Dr. Katie Thomas added during presentations ahead of lunch the positive outcome of the new facility coming into use will be what students get out of it in the years to come, and the chances to grow in the educational opportunities within the state's largest industry.
She additionally pointed toward recent praise in the state's positive review of the College and Career Academy program as how Polk County continues to provide a "model for the state" in growth and accessibility.