School campus picked as set of TV show
By Monroe Roark
When it was announced last year that the former Patrick Henry Academy campus - the Stockbridge High School campus from the late 1960s to the early 1990s - was being closed down, people all over Henry County wondered what might become of the property.
The former Patrick Henry Academy campus will be used by a production company to shoot the Netflix series, Stranger Things. Photo by Seth Jackson
It is doubtful that many of them expected Hollywood to come calling.
The Henry County Board of Education voted Sept. 15 to approve an agreement allowing a production company to shoot portions of an eight-part Netflix series at the former Patrick Henry Academy campus in Stockbridge. The company, Camp Hero Productions, will pay a total of $78,140 according to staff reports.
The series is titled “Stranger Things.” According to a recent article in the entertainment publication Variety, the cast will include Winona Ryder and David Harbour as well as a number of young actors. The story reportedly “takes place in Indiana, where a young boy vanishes into thin air amid an unfolding mystery involving top-secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces — and a very strange little girl.”
The show is being written and directed by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, whose most recent credits include the FOX TV series “Wayward Pines.”
School system spokesman J.D. Hardin said the series is set in the 1980s, which in some ways made the Patrick Henry site a perfect fit because its facilities are more dated than most of the other schools in the district.
The producers will mostly use what was the main classroom building at the school, parts of which will portray three different schools in the story. The gymnasium will also be used to some extent, Hardin said.
As economic development and tourism organizations across the state have worked in recent years to make the areas they represent more attractive to the motion picture and television industry that continues to grow in Georgia, the Henry County School System has actually gotten several calls in recent months from production companies regarding its facilities.
Hardin said New Line Studios toured the Patrick Henry campus for possible use in a major motion picture but ultimately decided to go in another direction. But district officials have gotten a strong indication that the facility can get plenty of use in this area without interfering with other uses on the property. The school system is still using a portion of the campus for professional learning and as a northern transportation hub, Hardin said.