Brookhaven, GA, July 15, 2016 – by Kim Gőkçe for The Post – At the request of the City of Brookhaven, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Superintendent Stephen Green and Staff provided a briefing on the new elementary school planned for Brookhaven. The school is to be built using DCSD’s elementary school “template” that has been used three times to date: Fernbank ES, Peachcrest ES, and the replacement school for Clifton Elementary under construction.
The school which will be known as “John Lewis Elementary School” is to be built on the sites currently occupied by the Skyland Vital Records Building and Skyland Park. DCSD representatives and their consulting architect presented elevations and site plans for the 900-1200 capacity school. The site plan calls for an initial capacity of 900 with core services such as cafeteria and gym to support up to 1200 students.
After a short presentation school system and city officials fielded questions from attendees. Top areas of concern raised by attendees were how the construction would handle tree preservation at the site, traffic patterns, pedestrian safety in terms of walk-to-school, and redistricting. DSCD will conduct a traffic study this fall after the school year starts to serve as a baseline study for the area. It will include traffic studies being conducted by the developer of the former Bryton Hills apartments in the same neighborhood.
School system officials indicated that some of the areas of concern like traffic control recommendations and pedestrian safety improvements would be addressed by the City of Brookhaven, some by DCSD, and some jointly under their inter-governmental agreement (IGA). Regarding redistricting, officials indicated that one year prior to the school opening a formal redistricting process would be triggered that would seek community input. DCSD also reminded attendees that the catalyst for the construction of the school is to relieve overcrowding in neighboring Montclair, Dresden and Woodward elementary schools.
The real estate closing with the State of Georgia to purchase the necessary land is set for January 31, 2017 but could be delayed as late as March 31, 2017. Based on the IGA with Brookhaven, the new city park at the site must be completed prior to the school construction. The most ideal schedule shows a fall of 2018 opening for the John Lewis Elementary School but December 2018 or even a fall of 2019 opening are possible.
All parties agreed to maintain a series of meetings to continue addressing residents concerns and maintaining an open dialog. City officials remained after the briefing to discuss Skyland Park planning questions.