It’s officially back-to-school season, and for students attending the recently completed Walnut Grove High School in Prosper, Texas — one of the richest cities in the US — it’s sure to be a great year.
The school, nicknamed "The Grove," consists of a 530,000-square-foot, two-story academic building with 62 classrooms and 14 science labs. It also has a 75,000-square-foot multi-purpose building, a 1,000-seat auditorium for fine arts, and a 2,200-seat sports arena on campus, according to the Walnut Grove website.
The high school also has an indoor sports facility to avoid the Texas heat.
The Walnut Grove HS field house will be perfect for escaping the Texas heat when playing sports during the summer! We enjoyed installing @TelecorInc's digital clocks & @Atlas_IED's loudspeakers in this spectacular space!@HuckabeeInc@PogueConstruct@CruxConsultants@ProsperISD pic.twitter.com/ylzZ1X3Uq1
— Quality Sound and Communications (@QualitySoundCom) August 24, 2023
When it comes to education, Walnut Grove has diverse learning programs in "journalism, fashion, culinary arts and fine arts, forensic science, medical tech, and eSports."
The most luxurious high school in the world has just opened its doors.Walnut Grove High School located in Prosper, Texas has state-of-the-art facilities. It includes a 530,000 square foot academic building, a 75,000 square foot multi-purpose building, and a 2,200-seat arena. pic.twitter.com/WwsGWqsvlz
— LifeandFortune (@LifeandFortune) August 20, 2023
Twitter: @LifeandFortune / @walnutgrove via IG / Via instagram.com
Upon completion, photos of the school went viral online, hitting 2.2 million views.
Twitter: @txfblife / Via instagram.com
The iconic saying "everything's bigger in Texas" evidently applies to schools as well. Many Instagram users compared Walnut Grove to college facilities, commenting, "Texas high schools have better facilities than half the D1 schools."
Another user compared the school to high schools on popular TV shows, writing, "Looks like some shit from Victorious and Zoey 101."
Meanwhile, other Instagram users expressed their dissatisfaction about Walnut Grove High School's focus on aesthetics, writing, "Huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Most of that will have no impact on the actual education provided or received."
Another user wrote, "Sports, sports, more sports, library without books, fast food, sports again. American priorities at its worst."
Though this school appears to be on another level, it’s worth noting that allocating a large amount of money for sports in US high schools is very common. According to Busted Coverage, a sports news website, in high schools, "The spending on sports is typically three times more than the spending on education."
Other critiques over the design considered which schools get more funding on average. Another user wrote, "Wondering the racial demographics..."
According to educational studies from the Learning Policy Institute, more money given to schools in funding often results in higher student achievement rates, and this funding often goes to predominately white schools.
Other users pointed out the inequality in education across the US, writing, "Smh and NYC still got books from the 70s."
Another user wrote, "The fact that every high school doesn't look like this in the wealthiest country in the world is indicative of the idea that inequality is a choice and an indictment of our societal priorities."
The wealth disparity issue in America directly impacts the education disparity, as public school funding is based on things like property taxes.
In Prosper, the average household income is $159,164, in comparison to the national average household income of $60,021.
BuzzFeed reached out to Walnut Grove High School for comment, and they said:
"People continue to choose Prosper ISD because of our community's legacy of commitment to excellence in education. Dr. Donald Leu, an international authority on literacy education, wrote, 'A school building is more than physical structure providing housing, light, heat and shelter from the elements; it is the one expression of the community's commitment to education.' Our community is committed to our schools. Our facilities reflect the standards set by families who move here from all over the nation and the world and who choose our district to provide an outstanding education for their children."