Hallways, corridors and classrooms throughout South Forsyth High School are War Eagle blue and silver and were seen by its students for the first time on Saturday.
The high school on Peachtree Parkway held an open house on July 30 to showcase its new construction, which is set to be ready for use when school starts tomorrow.
New additions included classrooms, a cafeteria, a gym and a central quad called The Plaza.
“The Plaza will be one of the main entrances to the school now, especially to athletic events in the arena or to the stadium behind our new dining hall area,” said Laura Wilson, principal at South. “It’s an open space, three-tiered, and it will be a place for gathering of our community, gathering of our students. It’s just a great space.”
Wilson narrated a tour of the new campus to the Forsyth County News, a quorum of Forsyth County Board of Education members and District 2 Commissioner-elect Rick Swope while members of student government, DECA and FBLA led groups of students and families through tours.
Cheerleaders welcomed visitors in the front entrance and out to The Plaza, and band members corralled school spirit days before classes began.
She said students “were very insistent upon having outside space” when they found out the campus would be expanded “because South has always been an open campus.”
Even inside the new hallways and in the new cafeteria, an open, outdoor atmosphere is a focus.
“We have natural light pop-ups throughout the hallways and in the band and chorus sweets,” she said, pointing to the high-intensity LED lighting along the ceilings.
“The high intensity is very high-intense bright, but it’s easier for the students on their brains than the old fluorescent lights,” she said.
Classrooms now have dimmer switches for visually impaired students.
“We used to gout and take out light bulbs to make it dimmer,” Wilson said.
The new gym, called The Arena at South Forsyth, sits stop The Plaza.
“It seats easily 2,400 to 2,600, and we’re going to practice and see if we can get all 3,200 of our students in there,” Wilson said. “It’s a good gathering space. We’ve just never had a large enough gathering space for everybody, so it is a big, bright new space.
“There are a couple of classrooms on the lower end and a nice training room for the student athletes. It’s just a very nice space to have everybody gather and speak to the whole student body at one time.”
She said the main goal of the new design is to connect the campus, and, therefore, the student body.
“We’ve always had West Campus and East Campus and the marketing wing and the athletic facilities. This will bring school culture and school community closer together,” she said.
Kristin Morrissey, school board member for south Forsyth’s District 2, said all students will benefit from the new campus, but there is one group in particular for which it will be special.
“These seniors will get to see it through,” she said. “I’m so excited for the kids to come to school.”