Lassiter unveils new, 1,000-seat performing arts center
by Geoff Folsom
January 14, 2013 12:22 AM | 10579 views | 12 12 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An open house is held for the new Lassiter Concert Hall at Lassiter High School.
An open house is held for the new Lassiter Concert Hall at Lassiter High School.
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NORTHEAST COBB — Looking around at the Greek columns surrounding the stage, plush seats and acoustical features of the new performing arts center, Thom Majors said the music program at Lassiter High School has come a long way since he was in the band when the school opened in 1981.

“To have a performance in something other than a multipurpose room or a cafetorium, to have it in a true concert hall, is an amazing experience,” said Majors, 46, an Acworth resident.

The classic architecture seemed appropriate for a monumental day for the music programs at Lassiter and elsewhere in the Cobb County School District. The school held an open house Sunday for the new Lassiter Concert Hall, a 1,000-seat music venue paid for as part of a $14.9 million SPLOST project.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our community, for our kids to showcase what they can do in a place like this,” Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “It’s fantastic that our district put this together.”

The facility will be open to all Cobb schools and others in the community. Hinojosa said its acoustics are designed by the same company that did those in the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.

“It’s a district-wide facility, but we’re so glad it’s here at Lassiter,” Hinojosa said. “It is very unusual (for a high school), but it is a showpiece.”

School board member David Banks said large school concerts were previously held at McEachern High School in Powder Springs or at Kennesaw State University.

“We can basically do it all here. We don’t have to go across the county or fight traffic in Kennesaw,” he said. “I just hope it gets well used — that people take advantage of this type of facility in east Cobb and we wear it out.”

Alfred L. Watkins, who has been band director at Lassiter since it opened, said the concert hall will serve 500 band, choir and orchestra students, the largest music program in the county. It will also give a permanent home to the Cobb Wind Symphony, which Watkins founded and conducts.

“It represents the best of the school,” Watkins said. “The school is strong academically, artistically and athletically. The kids are strong in character, and this is part of that whole mindset.”

Watkins conducted the wind symphony during the open house, while hundreds came in to check out the new facility. During intermission, he showed off some of its features.

Curtains behind the stage can be raised and lowered in order to suit what type of music is being played, Watkins said. And the columns are designed to improve the acoustics in the hall, which has 350 seats near the stage, with 650 stadium style seats behind them.

“Sound is like an energy ball,” he said. “You have to have something to harness it.”

Some will notice that the stage doesn’t have curtains that can be raised and lowered in front of it, like a traditional theater might. But Watkins said that shouldn’t keep the concert hall from hosting dramas and other events.

“Shakespeare had a stage similar to this,” he said. “He seemed to have done OK.”

Lassiter senior Mark Hopper, a band member, said he has been waiting for the day he could perform at the concert hall since construction started in March 2010.

“We’ve watched it built from the ground up, dodging all the construction,” the 18-year-old said. “I love how it turned out.”

Comments
(12)
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Cheryl T.
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January 18, 2013
And yet, PTAs around East Cobb were asked the same week to help a sister school with...paper?! Where are our priorities? See below...

The Powers Ferry school counseling department has a need – PAPER…just normal white, plain printer paper. If you know of a business or anyone who may want to donate any paper, we would greatly appreciate it! Please contact Kristin Moffett at the following number if you are able to provide assistance and/or have any questions. Kristin Moffett, Ed.S., Professional School Counselor, Powers Ferry Elementary School, (770) 578-7939.
splostmonger
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January 15, 2013
If you notice, it is a performance hall for music, not for plays or other events. They blew the money on teh columns so they could not make it multi purpose. Great planning guys! I guess the next SPLOST you will cry for more money to make that other facility
CobbCountyProud
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January 15, 2013
Easy for everyone to make comments like this without actually seeing and experiencing the place. I visited and took a tour during last Sunday's open house and you should all be proud to have something like this in your community. Specially for the talented kids at Lassiter and other Cobb schools. Easy to complain about money and the economy and spending, but all that does is keep us where we are. This is a great step forward and seeing and hearing is believing. Go take a look and a listen (concert tonight at 7:00 PM) and you will change your mind. Be positive and stop bitching.
Just Sayin'....
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January 17, 2013
re CobbCountyProud - Agreed, it is a nice facility. And since you are so proud of it, the county estimates the annual upkeep of it to be about $175,000 a year, which, in case you missed it, we DO NOT have. This being said, perhaps we can count on you to pony up for these expenses. You should be able to mail the check directly to Glover Street, where I am sure, they will use it as intended.
anonymous
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January 14, 2013
Yeah. More thespians. Just what we need. And them high paying jobs for thespians.

The fools HAVE taken over Cobb County Schools.

M. VanDyke
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May 25, 2013
What a moron. You should be proud.
David Staples
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January 14, 2013
“Shakespeare had a stage similar to this,” he said. “He seemed to have done OK.”

Ahh yes, a circular open air amphitheatre with no electricity, heating, or air conditioning... very similar. ;-)
Excessive Showpiece
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January 14, 2013
Perhaps this is not the best time to unveil this extravagant theater when the School Splost is coming up for another special vote costing us money just for the special election.

This is not necessary, it may be nice, but unnecessary in an economy with outrageous debt and high unemployment.
Dadoftwoboys
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January 16, 2013
Who is to say what is necessary? Humans did without electricity, automobiles, and electronics until recent history. It is needed and will be well-used!
Just Sayin'....
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January 14, 2013
Great new facility. HOWEVER, is this what you are prepared to build throughout the district with the new SPLOST? You folks at the CCSB have now set a new standard, and one which every high school should have, BUT how do you propose to maintain them with no maintenance money in the general fund? You set yourself up for this and the SPLOST will not pass in March.
slim065
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January 14, 2013
I don't think you will see any other performance venue like this built at any other school in the county. Lassiter had the space (and arguably the best fine arts department in the county/metro) that allowed it to be built there. All schools can use it, but I do believe Lassiter gets a "1st call" on dates for their performances.

It also gives 2 outstanding venues on each side of the county (Lassiter and McEachern) to be able to host all of the middle and high school music festivals.

It is very nice. Wish I would have had a chance to play there when I was in the band.
Just Sayin'....
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January 17, 2013
slim065 - Of course Lassiter will have first dibs...and McEachern was built with private funds... and the CCSB has asked to build new facilities at a number of schools via the SPLOST. The problem with these facilities is that we have no money for upkeep and now that we have built Lassiter, everyone will want their facility to be just as nice. Unfortunately, the CCSB has a hard time saying no to the parents, so I fear we will have these things popping up all over the county...and no money to pay for them after they are built.
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