Brookhaven, GA, December 7, 2016 – by Anna Williams for The Post – As part of their approval of a $561 million list of projects that will be funded through E-SPLOST V and state capital outlay reimbursements from 2017-2022, the DeKalb County School Board will spend $85 million on a new Cross Keys High School and $30 million for a new John Lewis Elementary School.
The Board approved a list they say will go a long way in addressing overcrowding in the cluster and provide important capital needs including construction of new campuses as well as vital facility and safety upgrades. The District Administration says they will continue work with the community during the design and implementation of the program.
“This blueprint will enable DCSD to provide our students with first-class facilities and services that they deserve,” said Superintendent R. Stephen Green. “But our work is far from finished. We will engage the community every step of the way as these projects move forward. Our goal is to build trust, and complete quality projects, together.”
Dr. Green said in an interview after the Board’s decision that there is overcrowding throughout the District, but the Cross Keys Cluster is “the epicenter where overcrowding exists.”
At the request of the City of Brookhaven in July, Superintendent 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. At that meeting, 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.
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 an 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.
A general breakdown of the E-SPLOST V project funding is as follows:
- Safety and security improvements – $15 million: Installation of automatic fire sprinklers and various security improvements and facility upgrades.
- New facilities and additions – $291 million: The construction of three new elementary schools, additions at eight middle and high schools, and construction of a new high school.
- Facility condition improvements – $100 million” High school artificial turf installation, elementary school playground replacement, restroom fixture replacement, school accessibility improvements, potential lead/water remediation, school bus pavement upgrades, parking additions at schools, major building system replacements.
- Technology – $65 million: Finance/Human Capital Management system replacement, computer refresh for all schools, phone upgrades for all schoolhouses, safety and security technology for all schools, active boards replacement, technology infrastructure enhancements.
- School buses, vehicles and other equipment – $40 million: The purchase of up to 257 new school buses, service vehicle purchase, musical instruments and equipment, portable classroom purchase, replacement of select kitchen equipment at 68 schools.
During the Monday evening meeting, dozens of parents had been lobbying the Board to pump the brakes for a couple of months to gather more input from the communities and hear more ideas. But, those efforts did not result in the Board deferring their decision.
The vote was 6-1.
Below is a list, as of December 5, 2016 of the approved funding.