D.A.T.E. Celebrates New Performing Arts Annex

by Carla Parker

grand opening imageStudents and administration at DeKalb Agriculture Technology and Environment, Inc. (D.A.T.E.) celebrated the grand opening of its new performing arts annex with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 18.

The S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) annex is dedicated to the arts and sciences, with an auditorium, band rooms and additional science spaces to execute labs, musical performances and practices. D.A.T.E. Headmaster/CEO Dr. Maury Wills said it has been a long journey to build the performing arts annex built.

“It feels rewarding [to see it] because now I know that our kids have many opportunities to grow in the areas of S.T.E.A.M, and they’re not confined by the physical constraints of a building,” Wills said. “Now they have many more opportunities to exercise their talents in S.T.E.A.M.”

The annex was named after George A. Jones, who has served on the school’s board of directors for 14 years. He is the current president of the board. The vision of a performing arts annex has been in the works for a few years. Wills said the journey to bring the vision to fruition was a challenge partially due to funding.

grand opening stage“Sometimes we don’t receive the same sort of funding as traditional schools, so we depend on a lot of fundraising, we depend on a lot of donors to make this possible,” Wills said. “We had a lot of delays with COVID, weather issues and permitting with the county [offices] being [closed]. So, it’s been a journey, it’s been a challenge and I think the benefit is seeing this facility being used to enhance the children’s knowledge and their talents. We’re thankful that we’ve had the opportunity to even have a vision that we live up to and exceed sometimes.”

As a leading S.T.E.M AdvancEd accredited academy in DeKalb County, D.A.T.E. serves 750 students between the grades of kindergarten through eighth grade, with a focus on technological studies and environmental sciences. Wills said he cannot wait for all of his students to experience the new addition of their school.

“We’re so excited and thrilled. It’s nothing like face-to-face learning and face-to-face interaction,” he said. “We can’t wait for them to get back so that we can continue the rigor and relevance of learning.”

Open link to see the photo gallery of the performing arts annex and ribbon cutting ceremony.