Although Hampton previously had its own high school, it consolidated with nearby Henry County High in McDonough and the Hampton building was torn down in 1954.
Superintendent Rodney Bowler said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building last week that Hampton residents for many years expressed the need for a high school in their city.
“The community has waited 60 years for return of its high school and I know that not a year has gone by in my 24 years of working in Henry County when I didn’t hear this community express that need, so this is truly an exciting and historic day for this city and our county,” he said.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the 273,000-square-foot building took place July 9, 2012.
Bowler said the cost of the school, which totaled about $35 million, would not have been possible without the voters’ support of the education special purpose local option sales tax.
“We have to give a big thank you to the community for their commitment to support education with the SPLOST program,” he said. “SPLOST is approved by the votes of the citizens and much of this school building was funded by the 1-cent sales tax collected in the county, which is received from patrons traveling through the county and stopping to shop, dine and sleep.”
The school, which opened for its first day official Monday, welcomed faculty and staff new to the city and county, including Principal Todd Finn, who previously worked at high schools in North Carolina.
Finn said the new school will serve as an opportunity and example to “create a better way to do high school.”
The school will focus on a more individualized approach and will embrace technology and 21st-century skills by following project-based learning which, Finn said, “over the course of an entire school year will encourage each learner to explore and learn at a flexible pace, based on their individual talents, interests and curiosities.”
“Hampton High will provide the opportunity for students to engage in authentic learning experiences, producing a unique, personalized brand of their thoughts, skills and competencies,” he said.
The first graduating class in more than six decades will earn their diplomas in May 2016.