This is the first major renovation for the school, which used to be known as Marietta Junior High, located off Aviation Road. It was built in 1969 and opened in 1971. It became the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy in 2002 and houses nearly 600 sixth-grade students.
The renovations, which were paid for with funds from the third Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program, included expanded science labs, a renovated and expanded band and choral room, new HVAC, security and sprinkler systems, new roofing, energy efficient lighting, and new carpeting and tile in classrooms. Renovations were also made to the gym, concrete courtyards, ceilings and paint.
Despite the high price tag, board Chairman Randy Weiner said the renovations were absolutely necessary.
“I attended the school in the late 70s and it hadn’t been renovated since then,” Weiner said. “So it’s long overdue and every child in this system comes through here. It just needed a major facelift.”
Board member Jill Mutimer, who was also at the Monday night ceremony, said she too attended the school and stressed that the building was aging.
In her speech in the school’s new atrium, Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck outlined several of the renovations that were vital to the school’s upgrade.
“We had over 40 years of teenage use, or abuse, and it was really showing … Where you’re standing used to be a wide, open hallway. In order to get to the office to let anybody know you were in the building, you’d have to walk all the way down that hallway,” Lembeck said motioning to a hallway behind her as long as a football field. “So the security of this building has been very, very much improved. When you come in here, it’s a fishbowl. That’s very, very important because parents want to be sure that their children are coming into a school where they are safe and also where they are, naturally, well-educated.”
Following the ribbon cutting, Principal Dayton Hibbs, who is in his third year at the school, called the ceremony a celebration and said he was proud that the school’s façade matches its quality of education.
He said the most needed renovations were new flooring, new ceilings and other upkeep projects. But his favorite part, he said, were the things on the school’s wish list, like the expansion and remodeling of its band and chorus rooms.
“The best part are our ancillary upgrades that were also approved,” Hibbs said of the renovation of the fine arts classrooms. “Those programs are really important to us and all of the things really helped strengthen and better provide for our arts students.”
Marietta City School board members Irene Berens and Tom Cheater were also at the unveiling. Along with Mayor Steve Tumlin and Marietta Councilman Phillip Goldstein.
After the ceremony, Hibbs led community members and parents through the school, showing off the upgrades. The tour was followed by the MSGA Fine Arts Showcase Performance, featuring performances from MSGA students in the drama, chorus and band programs.