In March, Cobb voters approved a fourth SPLOST program to benefit schools in the Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools. A new building for Walton High School was approved at a ticket price of about $40 million.
The date for the rebuild has not been set. However, over the summer the school board approved hiring an architect to begin the design process for the new school.
Sharon Camp, who has taught science at Walton for the last 10 years, decided to involve her 83 AP Environmental Science students in pitching sustainable ideas to the school’s architect, Robert Sussenbach of Chapman Griffin Lanier Sussenbach Architects Inc. of Atlanta.
She has encouraged students to come up with environmentally friendly methods involving air quality, water pollution, energy saving methods, recycling programs and ways to incorporate vegetative waste in the lunchroom.
“The purpose of this project is to give the students the opportunity to apply the information they learn in class to real-world problem solving,” Camps said. “The project gives the students a context whereby the content information is more relevant to them, but most importantly, it gives them a chance to see how they can apply knowledge to solve problems.”
A few examples of what students developed:
Saving on energy costs by installing windows in every class to allow for natural light
Saving on water costs by setting up rain barrels around campus for school water usage
Preserve air quality by planting trees in the school parking lots and building a greenhouse
For the rebuilding, Camps said students are also taking into consideration the budget, land restraints and cost benefit analyses.
“It also gives them practice working together in a group environment,” she said. “Most of all, it gives them an opportunity to impact our environment in a positive way, so that they feel more empowered to make a difference in their community.”
On Oct. 30, students will make their final recommendations to the architect, who Camp said has been very receptive to the idea.
It will consist of a verbal presentation to the architect, school principal and others; a three-dimensional mockup of their final structural design; and an informative brochure.
“It is very exciting to see the students so engaged and enthusiastic,” she also said. “When I told them that the architect was excited about hearing their ideas, they became even more motivated. As we get closer to the deadline, I see the energy level increase dramatically.
“My students have always been capable of accomplishing amazing things, and I am so grateful that I can give them a platform that they can use to show everyone what they can achieve.”
Madison Link, a 10th-grader in Camp’s class, was part of the publicity group, which is responsible for letting the Walton community know what they are trying to do in their class and for the school’s future.
“It’s been amazing to be a part of this project and part of building our new school,” Link said, adding that even though she won’t be a student when the new school is complete, she’s excited about what it will offer for future Walton Raiders.