With a total price tag of in excess of 102 million dollars, the school was designed for environmental sustainability as well as a longer service life. The new Kellam High School is the 8th LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) constructed by Virginia Beach City Public Schools since 2005. The high utilization of LEED technology contributed to a lower cost-per-square-foot at $214 per-foot which is $18.00 per-square-foot cheaper than comparable rates throughout the region at the time of construction. 

In addition to the LEED technology, the new Kellam High School was also designed with the input of students, teachers, business and community leaders through a series of hands-on workshops. However the layout of the school as well as many of the innovative features it offers wasn’t without its detractors as reflected by some of the online comments posted to the PilotOnline.

A comment by “RLS” posted on August 7th, 2011 to the PilotOnline website demonstrated skepticism towards environmentally sustainable buildings. “In 10 years I'll bet NONE of these "green" initiatives are working and the excuse will be "it's too expensive to fix". 

Virginia Beach School Board member Sam Reid responded to those criticisms by saying; “When you build a new school, you’re building something that will be in used long after we’re gone. It just makes sense to employ the best technology available to help keep operating costs lower not only through the construction phase, but over the entire service life of the school.” 

Mrs. Pam Pruitt, mother of 2014 graduate Mary Pruitt has additional reasons to be proud that her daughter, Mary is a member of this year’s graduating class. At the age of 18, Miss Pruitt, an accomplished painter and graduate of the Governors School of the Arts helped paint some of the murals located within the school. “It’s a beautiful school and I think it’ll be something I think she’ll always remember,” Said Mrs. Pruitt, “it was more beautiful that some of the college campuses she visited.”  

Anna Pruitt, the younger sister of Mary has different interests such as photography and cheerleading, but is still excited about attending the new Kellam High School in the fall because she will “get to see how nice it is before it gets messed up.” 

Ken Brown of Waynesboro, Virginia beamed with pride over his granddaughters accomplishments and thanks to a modern smart phone, was able to share his eldest granddaughters paintings, some of which have been displayed in the Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art, with anyone at any time.  “I asked her if she would sell one of her paintings to her grandpa for all the money I had in my pocket which might be a lot; she told me she couldn’t do that because it had already been sold!” When asked if her daughter might pursue a career in art, Mrs. Pruitt stated “she wants to be an art professor.”

When asked about the cost of the school and if the taxpayers got the best value for their money, Mrs. Pruitt stated “I think so; I think in the long run its going to save them money.” Mary Pruitt pointed out that “the school has lights that automatically turn on and off so that will save a lot of electricity.” 

Regardless of the cost to build or environmentally sustainability, the Pruitt family, like everyone in attendance at this afternoon’s event, expressed immense pride in their daughter’s accomplishments on her graduation day.

For the administrators, teachers and students the pride in their accomplishments didn’t have to be expressed-it showed.