$50 million Cobb schools event center coming; new south Cobb elementary school architect approved

Screenshot of Cobb school board member Becky Sayler

by Rebecca Gaunt

Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale announced Thursday that the $50 million event center approved in a 6-1 vote last year by the board will be located next to the district headquarters at 514 Glover St. in Marietta.

The building will seat 8,000 and be used primarily for graduations and other events. There are also plans for a parking deck. The 10-acre property is a combination of land previously acquired by the district and a $3 million purchase of an additional 1.3 acres approved in December.

Democratic board member Becky Sayler, the lone vote against the center last March, continued to press for details. At the time of approval, no data or information was presented to demonstrate the financial savings made possible by building the center rather than continuing to rent facilities, though Ragsdale did say the “return on investment is actually infinity.”

“At what point will we have a comprehensive plan for the event center: the use, the impact on future budgets, staffing needs, how much it’s saving us in costs for rental facilities?” Sayler asked Thursday.

Ragsdale responded that it had to be built first.

“As I presented during the presentation of the initial project, the list of potential uses were listed at that point in time. As far as any staffing or what, that will come after it’s been completed,” he said.

Ragsdale said he hoped for a potential design and bid to come before the board soon.

New elementary school to be built

The board approved a $1,069,124 million contract with the architecture firm Cunningham Forehand Matthews & Moore Architects, Inc. to provide architectural and engineering services for a new elementary school in southern Cobb County. 

The project is funded by SPLOST VI, approved in 2021.

In an email to her constituents, Sayler wrote, “Since Teasley and Nickajack are over-capacity and King Springs is close, it will likely be built to relieve and accommodate that growth.”

The district has not shared a specific location for where the new school will be located.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.