After more than a decade of waiting and planning, officials marked the start of construction on Forsyth County’s seventh traditional high school, East Forsyth High.
On Tuesday, project stakeholders and officials from the Forsyth County Schools system met at East Forsyth’s future home off Jot Em Down Road and Claude Martin Drive in northeast Forsyth to turn some dirt and officially kick off the construction process with a groundbreaking ceremony.
“I think that the people of north Forsyth have been excited for a long time, and they’ve been waiting on this,” District 4 Representative Darla Light said at the ceremony. “I believe that it’s going to live up to the expectations and exceed them, I really do.”
East Forsyth’s land, according to school officials, was originally purchased in the early 2000s, but the project was tabled due to the severity of the Great Recession that started in 2007.
In March 2019, the Forsyth County Board of Education approved an $85 million contract with Carroll Daniel Construction for construction of the new school which expected to open its doors in the fall of 2021.
Like the county’s other traditional high schools, East Forsyth is set to accommodate about 2,125 students with room to add additional facilities as the area grows.
According to Jennifer Caracciolo, director of communications for Forsyth County Schools, East Forsyth is projected to open with grades 9-11 and a starting enrollment similar to when Denmark opened this school year.
She said that the school is projected to relieve student populations at North Forsyth and Forsyth Central high schools, but so far the system has not entered discussions over how district lines in those areas will change.
Caracciolo said that the design of East Forsyth will be similar to that of Denmark, with a navy and orange color scheme unique to the new school.
East Forsyth’s colors and mascot, the Broncos, were chosen by the county’s high school principals earlier in the 2018-19 school year, she said.
“The whole process that we went through is the exact process that we used for Denmark; the high school principals selected the colors and then they also selected the mascot,” Caracciolo said at the ceremony on Tuesday. “They decided to pick the broncos for the mascot in honor of the Bennett Park Broncos.”
The Bennett Park Broncos, according to Caracciolo, was a little league football team that once operated out of the north Forsyth park.
Through the process of building other local schools, Caracciolo said they learned to select colors and mascots as early as possible so that the school can be built with those themes in mind.
“We now know that we have to have the school colors selected prior to the contract being approved, because you don’t want to have a situation like we had a Liberty Middle School, where the school interior colors did not match the school colors and then we had to go back and repaint,” she said. “School colors are very important to the school culture, so we have to have those done and selected while we’re working with the architect.”
One unique design element of East Forsyth design will be a central courtyard with spots of turf and a sunken seating area to create a gathering space for students.
The new high school will offer a full array of programs and extracurricular opportunities like other schools in the county, but according to Caracciolo, East Forsyth is also set to have an entirely new and unique career development program, referred to as “HGTV,” like the popular television channel for home improvement and real estate shows.
She said that the “HGTV” career development area will include elements of interior design, marketing, design, engineering, construction and audio/video production and will feature a number of different lab spaces for the different elements.
In addition to the “HGTV” career development area, Caracciolo said that they also have preliminary plans for East Forsyth to contain a small onsite child care center, which will be operated under teacher supervision by students of the school’s early childhood education pathway.
“The teaching as the profession pathway provides us a pipeline to grow our future employees,” she said. “More details regarding this program will be provided closer to the school’s opening.”