By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 14, 2018
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Hundreds celebrated the grand opening of the new Valdosta High School Saturday morning.
Wildcats young and old got their first look at where students will soon roam the halls.
After two years of construction, the more than 400,000 square foot high school houses 77 general classrooms, 35 specialty classrooms, 14 science labs and will offer students more than 200 courses.
"We have Wiregrass here setting up some of their courses on our campus so we don't have to travel to Wiregrass. We have videography, we have culinary arts, we have cosmetology, we have many courses now to offer our students," said Principal Dr. Janice Richardson.
Hundreds gathered to celebrate Valdosta High School Day, dedicated April 14, 2018 by Mayor John Gayle. Crowds gathered to show support for Valdosta City Schools.
"This is a prime example of the beauty of public education and how when citizens get behind public education, the things that we can do to improve student achievement and improve students' outlook on life," said Superintendent Dr. Todd Cason.
While the people who will fill the halls will be the same, the school brings new opportunities.
"It makes you feel like people really care about the kind of education you get and where you go to school. It really makes you feel good, you feel important and like you matter to people," said Valdosta High School student Raquel Goddard.
School officials hope the new multi-million dollar facility will lead students to success.
"It allows our children to be more competitive, give them the tools, and use the tools, to help them be more competitive in the global market," Dr. Cason said.
Dr. Richardson added that some students can graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree.
Staff are passing on a message to future high schoolers and future leaders:
"Take advantage of the resources and the tools. They're right at your hand, and if you take advantage of it, you can achieve greatness," Dr. Cason said.
As for the old high school, Valdosta City Schools says it's still up in the air what the district will do. Staff said they could sell it, or use it for new programming, like a pre-K center.