Vonda Shoemaker, Walton Facilities Foundation Inc. president, said they hosted the event for parents to walk around the school, interact with students and get a taste of what the children do on a daily basis.
“We wanted people to come here tonight, see our school and say, ‘This is home and we’re looking forward to sending our children here,’” Shoemaker said. “We are hoping that this will become an annual event.”
She also said the event was not in light of the SPLOST IV referendum set to go before Cobb voters March 19.
If approved, it could bring in nearly $40 million in renovations to the school, including a fine arts facility that will house classrooms and a main gymnasium.
“We do plan to share information that came out from the county, specifically about schools in our cluster and what they’ll receive if SPLOST IV passes,” she said.
There was a small table set up outside the cafeteria with district brochures and an architectural sketch of what Walton would look like if the initiative is approved in three weeks.
The one-hour tour allowed visitors to roam the hallways and check out the technology classrooms, media center, International Spanish program, graphics department, Walton sports shop and Raider Joe’s Coffee Shop and hear the percussion band and the orchestra perform in the fine arts wing.
There were more than 45 Walton students scattered throughout the building to help guide guests, as well and answer any questions.
For Susan Vavra, the parent of a junior at Walton, a rising ninth grader and a sixth grader, this was the first time she was able to explore the school so thoroughly since her oldest child’s freshman orientation.
“We do this together – this is our mom time,” Vavra said about why she and a friend participated in the preview. “Every time there is an open house or a kid meeting, we go together.”
Vavra also addressed the need for SPLOST IV to pass. She has a child in the school’s orchestra program.
“We know that the fine arts area is very small,” she said. “It’s much smaller than the other high schools’ fine arts areas we’ve seen.”
Walton’s chorus is performing at Lassiter High School tonight because the theater did not hold enough people.
“It’s a greatly needed thing,” she said. “They have great instruction but are working in small spaces.”
She understands the land constraints Walton faces though and why modifications haven’t been afforded in the past.
The building, originally built in 1975, sits on 43 land-locked acres and is home to approximately 2,600 students, or about 300 over capacity.