The Valdosta Daily Times
When news of the architect selection for Valdosta High School was announced this week, it was met with mixed reactions from readers, a number of whom believe that a building is just a building and a new one is not necessary. These are typically the same individuals who offer the same arguments about the necessity for SPLOST. Why build a new library? Why build a new auditorium? What we’ve got is good enough.
Those arguments would work well if these same naysayers would follow this logic in their own lives. Who needs a new car? The old one works fine. Surely every one of these folks is driving the same car they got when they turned 16.
Why buy new clothes? Everyone can wear the same clothes they wore in high school. Why pave roads more than once? Why build new roads? Why build anything new at all, ever?
The current Valdosta High School, the current main branch of the library and the current Mathis Auditorium are all more than 45 years old, approaching 50. None were built for the technology of today. There were no computers, no need for multiple phone lines, no need for extensive electrical wiring, sound systems, and the like.
They have all three enjoyed long lives, have been used to their fullest capability and then some, and had their lives extended for many years more than they were ever intended to.
Same with the roads around the community and many other facilities.
The new VHS is not on the SPLOST list but will most likely be on the next Education, or E-SPLOST, but the library and the auditorium both are, among many other projects. They need to be rebuilt. They need to be modernized. They need to be in the 21st century of design rather than the design of the 1950s.
The one cent on the dollar paid in sales tax goes directly to the economy. It creates construction jobs, paving jobs, electrical jobs, lighting, roofing, etc. It creates a need for local resources. It creates a stable, thriving and growing economy. It keeps food on tables throughout our region for families who need a steady paycheck. It benefits the community in far more ways than are listed here.
If you’ve made do your whole life, never bought a new car, a new pair of jeans, new workboots, or had to look for a new job, then perhaps you have earned the right to say the tax and these facilities are not necessary.
Otherwise, remember that buildings are like anything else man-made. They have to be replaced at some point, and after nearly 50 years, it seems like the community has done a great job of “making do” for a very long time.