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Empowering Communities with Virtual Tour: The South O'Brien High School Project Success Story

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Virtual Tour built by Egents Virtual Reality Photography for the South O'Brien Community School District Paullina Iowa


In today's digital age, using innovative approaches to engage communities and generate support for important projects is essential. The South O'Brien Community School District's recent success in passing a bond issue to fund much-needed facility improvements serves as a prime example of how virtual tours can powerfully impact community engagement and decision-making. In this blog post, we'll explore the South O'Brien High School Project and how a virtual tour played a role in securing the funding needed for their facility renovations.

The Challenges

The South O'Brien Community School District faced challenges in upgrading their facilities, including the Junior High/High School, Elementary School, and Central Office. In order to fund these improvements, a $25.935 million bond issue needed to pass. To achieve this, the District had to effectively communicate the necessity of the renovations to the community, fostering an understanding of the importance of the project and vote.

The Virtual Tour Solution

Recognizing the power of virtual tours as a means of engaging and informing community members, the District contracted Egents Virtual Reality Photography to build an interactive tour showcasing the areas in need of improvements. The virtual tour allowed users to explore the facilities at their own pace, providing a clear visual representation of the current conditions. This innovative approach proved to be an effective way to present the project's needs, building credibility and trust with community members. The virtual tour's immersive nature helped create an emotional connection with the cause, driving home the urgency of the facility improvements.

The tour begins with a video by the Superintendent, after which users click "start tour" to begin. Click the image to see a short video montage of the tour on the South O'Brien High School Facebook page.
The tour also had a navigational menu with submenus, allowing users to cut to a specific location in the tour.
The tour was enriched with informational overlays to enhance its visual storytelling and build creditability and trust with users.

The Impact

In addition to the other awareness efforts of the District, the virtual tour played a role in the passing of the $26 million bond issue. By providing an engaging and informative experience, the virtual tour allowed community members to make informed voting decisions on the bond proposal. The result was a strong show of support for the District's facility improvements, ensuring that the necessary funds would be available to bring their educational institutions up-to-date.

Lessons Learned

The South O'Brien High School Project offers valuable insights for other organizations and industries seeking to leverage virtual tours for community engagement and support:

  • Emphasize transparency and trust by visually presenting project needs and benefits.

  • Create engaging and immersive storytelling to foster emotional connections with the cause.

  • Offer convenience and accessibility, enabling users to explore the virtual tour at their own pace and from any device.


The South O'Brien High School Project serves as an inspiring case study on the power of virtual tours in fostering community engagement and driving positive change. By embracing innovative approaches like virtual tours, organizations can effectively communicate their needs and goals, building trust and support from the communities they serve. As we look to the future, the potential of virtual tours will only continue to grow, offering exciting new opportunities for organizations and communities to connect and collaborate.


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