Catoosa County school officials broke ground Tuesday, Sept. 14, for a performing arts center at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.
The LFO Performing Arts Theater, which is being funded with ESPLOST (education special-purpose local-option sales tax) funds, is expected to open in August 2023.
A large crowd of elected officials, community members, students, and teachers attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
“I am proud every time we begin an ESPLOST facility improvement project in our schools,” Superintendent Denia Reese said, “but projects at LFO High School are very special to me because this is my alma mater.”
Reese discussed facility revitalization and improvement projects for LFO High School that began in 2012 with ESPLOST IV. Some major projects in Phase I included building a performance gymnasium, renovating science classrooms and labs, expanding cafeteria seating, and remodeling the main entrance to improve safety. Revitalization continued with ESPLOST V and included new bleachers, press box, and track for the football stadium, as well as renovation and improvements for baseball and softball complexes.
The LFO Performing Arts Theater is a major project that the community requested for the ESPLOST VI referendum.
“This theater will provide a venue to showcase the talents of students in the LFO band, drama, chorus, and visual arts,” Reese said. “Additionally, this theater will be available for performances for elementary schools in LFO’s attendance zone, Lakeview Middle School, and the Fort Oglethorpe community.
“I know students and parents will have wonderful memories of special performances for years to come, and it will be a great addition to the LFO community,” she said. “This is a great day for everyone in this community, but I don’t think anyone is more excited than I am to begin construction on this theater.”
LFO Principal Chance Nix also spoke during the ceremony. He thanked the Catoosa County Board of Education and recognized Reese, saying, “This advancement would not have come to fruition without the hard work and dedication of LFO’s most distinguished educator, LFO alumna Superintendent Denia Reese. Thank you for your perseverance and for making this dream a reality.”