A dream more than a decade in the making was finally realized last week.
The new Cedartown High School fine arts building was officially opened on Monday, Nov. 30, with a ribbon cutting and special performance by the school’s drama troupe for invited guests and faculty members.
One of Polk School District’s biggest projects approved by voters as part of the 2017 Education-only Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, the extension had been on the drawing board for nearly 10 years when it got the green light.
“We worked with our architect, worked with our construction management to come up with a design that flowed really well for our students and to just really maximize the space for our fine arts department, whether it be drama, art or our band,” Polk Schools Superintendent Laurie Atkins said.
“I think it really is going to serve this community and the school well.”
Aside from a new band room, art room, drama room, and classrooms, the newly-constructed wing houses a 500-seat auditorium with a workshop under the stage and elevator system to load in sets and props for performances.
The very first of those performances for an audience came at the opening as the Cedartown High School theater group performed its one-act play production of “The Diviners” for the crowd.
CHS Theatre Director Chris Reaves spoke to the crowd before the performance, thanking all of those involved in the creation of the new facility.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the board of education and the citizens of Polk County for helping to make this dream a reality through the SPLOST,” Reaves said. “Things that I never dreamed possible have become possible.”
Atkins also thanked the board, as well as W.D. Trippe Foundation board members and R.K. Redding Construction representatives. The Trippe Foundation helped enhance the auditorium’s seating, audio visual systems, lighting and curtains.
“This is a true testament to the determination of our community, to the love and support of our students and our school and our district, and to the hard work that everybody’s put forward, and to the stewardship of our SPLOST dollars,” Atkins said.
Construction on the new fine arts wing began in 2018 and came after several delays. Atkins and Reaves both referred to the opening of the facility as a dream come true.
“I’d like to thank 24 years of faculty, students, friends who have been with me, started the program, built the program,” Reaves said. “It is on their shoulders that this place is built, and I will be forever grateful. So this is dedicated to them in every possible way.”