NORTH FORSYTH -- At a school in north Forsyth, students can lounge on purple couches to study or socialize, drifting between a cafeteria beaming bright, natural light across tables and a media center set across from a campus store.
The scene may sound like a college campus, and that appears to be what North Forsyth High School is attempting to accomplish in the construction of new buildings and facilities.
Though school started Thursday, students, parents, teachers and members of the Raider Nation gathered the weekend before classes began to celebrate the grand opening of the new North.
“We can’t believe how incredible this project has turned out,” Principal Jeff Cheney said.
The centralized focus of the new construction is the cafeteria, which sits about 800 people instead of squeezing students into multiple, disjointed lunches.
A massive opaque sky light overarches the cafeteria, shining through the open commons space and a renovated media center, leading students to what Cheney said is the highlight of the project.
“The kids are going to love the opportunity to come in and study and socialize, and it’s just going to be the nucleus of the school,” he said. “It’s going to be amazing.”
He said the lounge-style seating set between the cafeteria tables and media center entrance offer North students more opportunities to collaborate.
“We’re going to focus on studying and prep for school and classes more with our students … who wouldn’t want to come in and sit down on a great piece of furniture in a comfortable area? We feel it’s going to enhance the learning environment overall,” he said.
A total of 17 new classrooms were built, including two science labs. All new classrooms are fitted with modular desks that can be raised to varying heights and can be connected for group projects.
The new gym sits out to the back of the new cafeteria, lined with larger-than-life purple walls and trophy cases.
Scott Tilden, athletic director at North, said the gym’s three new ROTC rooms can be opened to combine into one large competition room with targets, fitting all 260 students in the program inside.
Cheney said the additions blend the two original buildings on the campus together.
“The community’s been yearning for a complete campus, and we finally have it,” he said. “So it’s just a chance to bring everything together finally and to call this North Forsyth High School.”