Chamblee Charter High School – 600 Seat Addition

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DeKalb Schools will bring to the board on Monday a recommendation to construct a 600-seat, three-story addition to Chamblee Charter High School. The project will also include

  • 116 space parking lot in front of school fronting Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
  • Kitchen extension (984 sq/ft)
  • Cafeteria extension (1,891 sq/ft)
  • Media center expansion (2,647 sq/ft)
  • 2 story employee parking garage

Note: This project will not include any renovations or additions to existing art rooms, locker rooms, band room, choir room, gymnasium, fields, or any other core spaces or surrounding infrastructure.
What are your thoughts?

Conceptual Plan
The following plans represent a conceptual approach to locating building additions and site modifications at the schools recommended for additions and reconfiguration. These conceptual plans are intended for the purpose of determining feasibility only.
click to enlarge

Enrollment/Capacity – Chamblee Charter High School (Oct 2016)
Chamblee Charter High School currently has 1,624 students enrolled and is expected to have 2,328 students (518 students over current capacity) by year 2022.

Enrollment By Grade (Oct 2016) Total Total Available Percent
School 9 10 11 12 Enrollment Capacity Seats Capacity Portables
Chamblee Charter HS 514 426 361 323 1,624 1,810 186 90%

The administration recommends constructing a 600-seat, three-story addition extending the current footprint and bringing the school to 120 classrooms.
Core Areas
The classroom addition and resulting increased capacity will require modifications to the school’s common areas – media center, kitchen and cafeteria. Previously these expansions were indicated as additions to the footprint of the building, but further analysis shows that the media center and cafeteria expansion requirements can be better accommodated by expanding within the building itself. These modifications will expand core areas by 5,522 -square-ft.

August Round 3 Estimates Cost September Final Recommendation Change in Seats Estimates Change In Funding
1 600 seat addition at Dunwoody HS $23 million 600 seats (2,100 seat capacity) 0 $16.4 million – 29%
2 450 seat addition at Peachtree MS $17 million 450 seats (1,700 seat capacity) 0 $13.9 million – 18%
3 900 seat addition at Lakeside HS $34 million 750 seats (2,500 seat capacity) – 17% $22.1 million – 35%
4 500 seat addition at Chamblee HS $19 million 600 seats (2,400 seat capacity) + 17% $16.4 million – 14%

The estimated total cost of the proposed recommendation has flucuated over the last few months. It was recently reduced to $16.4 million but is currently $21,200,000.

Total Budget Cost includes direct construction costs, Arch/Eng. fees, site testing fees, furniture/fixtures/equipment, and project contingencies. These costs were developed from historical cost information compiled by School Planning and Management, in their Annual School Construction Report 2015, Region 5 (Southeast United States) cost per student for new high schools. These costs were then inflation adjusted for year 2019.
Student Moves
It estimated that an additional 400 students will be redistricted from Cross Keys HS to Chamblee Charter HS. It is also estimated that roughly 250 students will be redistricted out of Chamblee HS and in Cross Keys HS
Board of Education Meeting
These recommendations will be presented to the board at the end of the 2pm business meeting this coming Monday. There will be public comment at 5:45pm. The board is expected to vote on this in December. You may get on the list to speak this Monday at public comment by emailing Margaret_Francois (

121 responses to “Chamblee Charter High School – 600 Seat Addition

  1. So, $21 million times how many high schools that we are “retro fitting?” Then add on the costs for the “Kim Gokce new Cross Keys High School” and what are we up to?
    Parking decks? 800 more students coming in and out of that place? Calling my realtor today.

  2. Stan, Can you please help me understand this? It would appear this is asking for a vote on one element of the proposed SPACES project list without approval of the list as a whole – is that correct? Isn’t this putting the cart way before the horse?
    Spending $21M in this way (not expanding band room, choir room, gym, etc.) is so short-sighted when a Doraville High School is such a better long-term use of these funds. I hope that we can count on you to vote against this proposal!

  3. I agree with Hilary. The cost and the inconvenience are going to be unbelievably difficult to swallow. A new Doraville High School would have been much less obtrusive. With all of these schools being torn up and expanded, how many students’ daily lives and routines are going to be impacted? I suppose the answer is virtually everyone.

  4. Hilary, The board presentation on Monday will be on the E-SPLOST Detailed Project List. I imagine the vote in December will be on that list.

  5. The nice greenspace in front of the school will become a parking lot? Ugh!

  6. It seems like pure madness to spend another $21M to expand a school that just finished massive renovations in late 2013 to the tune of $70M. It makes even less sense when by 2022, the school will be outdated and over capacity- what then, spend another $30M. It isn’t like this area is going to decrease in students, if anything it will increase. Doraville High School seems to be the smartest use of the $21M dollars for Chamblee and par of the funds use for Cross Keys. By building this additional high school you will alleviate the pressure placed on the other local high schools.

  7. Another example of DeKalb’s inability to run a successful school system! But, then again, who cares? It’s not their $; BUT, it is the studen’s $. Shame on you DeKalb.

  8. This proposed plan is the worst of the 3 presented. It takes a well thought out design that was recently completed, and adds hodge-podge additions and parking structures. Had this visual been presented earlier, moving the magnet program might still be on the table. Cannot imagine parking spaces facing Chamblee Dunwoody Road where the front of CCHS has such a presence.

  9. City of Chamblee is investing in the streetscape in front of the school and now DCSD is going to line up 116 cars in front of the school? That will look awful.
    The parking on the side of the school was badly designed from the start so putting a deck there is probably a good idea.
    Need another school in the area instead of lumping on to this one.

  10. Now that this is all on paper in Stan’s three posts, this proposed plan looks even more absurd than it did before! All three of these complicated and very disruptive projects could be handled in such a more consolidared and efficient manner by building a single new Doraville High School. Not to mention how effectively that would handle so many cluster overcrowding problems. Sigh.

  11. Stan,
    Thank you for getting the pertinent info from the various Consultant reports. Appendix A also had a section on Chamblee Charter High School called “Alternative Option’ as well as one called ‘Challenges.’ I have copied them out below.
    Alternative Option
    An alternative conceptual plan includes a 600-seat, three-story addition that adds a net of 30 classrooms (addition would displace four existing classrooms) that extends from the southeast corner of the current main classroom building and would require the acquisition of an additional parcel of land. Its layout is similar to that of the adjacent structures and therefore utilizes the same circulation corridors that currently exist. This option would be less disruptive to school operations during construction; however, it would require the purchase of an additional parcel of land. While acquiring additional land may add to the cost of the project, it would help to increase the acreage of Chamblee’s under-sized campus.
    • Extremely limited site acreage. Projected enrollment in 2022 would leave the school 23.39 acres under the recommended state minimum for a school its size.
    • The proposed recommendation requires modifying the main entrance (into the Administrative Lobby) to relocate it to the exterior of the building.
    • The proposed recommendation would result in the loss of the current courtyard area between the main classroom building and auditorium.
    • The proposed recommendation would result in some disruption to school operations during construction.
    • The proposed recommendation would require the addition of 116 surface parking spaces which can be accommodated by utilizing existing property. In addition, a 120-space staff-only parking deck will be required, resulting in a total of 462 campus parking spaces.
    • The proposed recommendation would result in a high school far larger than is typical in DCSD.
    Stan, do you have any advice for Chamblee community members who favor the Alternative Option? How can we be sure that it is fairly considered?

  12. Stan, you write that “These recommendations will be presented to the board at the end of the 2pm business meeting this coming Monday. ”
    Do you mean Agenda Item D, the Committee of the Whole session, or something different?

  13. It does seem that all this retrofitting is definitely beginning to add up to much more than a new Doraville area high school would have been.
    CCHS plan must include additional acreage as we only have 23.4 acres with recommended 38 for the size of students and there will be too much damage and disruption by not building on new acres. Moreover, the current plan is not feasible as the City of Chamblee is very highly unlikely to approve parking on already congested Chamblee Dunwoody and may not even approve the parking deck as they have disapproved before.
    Do not vote for a plan until a FEASIBLE plan for expansion is presented with adequate resources for new acreage and adequate parking, adequate lockers, etc. all of which are lacking

  14. I have inserted this quote as taken from the recent study paper dated 10/31/16 taken from the DCSD website (its a summary paper about the feasibility study): “Consensus to keep existing attendance areas intact and communities together in all areas except for the Chamblee/Cross Keys clusters where this need was a lower priority.” This quote is taken from the Executive Summary section, specifically on page 20 under the bullet point about key themes identified during Stakeholder Engagement. Why are the Chamblee/Cross Keys clusters the exception here? I think most within at least the Chamblee cluster would have liked to keep it intact, with the exception of a small subset of very vocal folks. We were shunned into being racists, etc. if we dared to voice those preferences for our cluster. But, it’s totally okay for Lakeside and Dunwoody to then AND even now continue saying they want to keep their clusters intact. And even worse, those views are part of the driving force behind all of these crazy school additions and retrofitting. This whole process is SO SO SO flawed!

  15. WORK SESSION 11/7/2016 @ 2:00 PM
    Agenda Item – D. 1. E-SPLOST Detailed Project List and Community Input Presentation

  16. I would be very surprised if the City of Chamblee approved parking in front of the school – it was requested in the first round of construction, and denied. If that is a critical part of the plan, then the plan is in some trouble.
    Having lived through the first round of “building a school around a school while trying to teach”, it is hard for me to imagine how you can insert a new building in the very middle of the school and continue to function. Where is the construction staged? How do construction vehicles access the site? Where do the buses go? How do people get from the parking lot to the school when there is a construction site in the middle? How do we keep kids out of the construction site?
    I very much hope that the Board considers the option of purchasing additional land. My (non-expert) guess is that it could quite likely end up being a cheaper option, especially given the additional costs of trying to keep a school operating during construction.

  17. Survey Says: I think you ask a very valid question about why CCHS/CKHS are the subject of so much more disruption than nearby clusters. Who would want to be disrupted if it could be avoided? The heart of all this pain is the dismantling of the Cross Keys cluster. No one defends keeping it intact. The scenarios in the final recommendation outline the choices we face and so here we are and there is understandably lots of angst with all the constraints and change.
    If staying intact is the priority, there is one other scenario I can see where the current CCHS cluster could stay intact and not “lose” feeders through redistricting: request what the others have – even more expansion. I believe this could work but would require the move of the Magnet.
    Is this an option that you would prefer to the current recommendation? The concept of moving the Magnet was overwhelming and famously rejected within the surveying and public comment. I don’t see how this could be reversed so late this year.

  18. I agree with Andrew and Cindy – great care must be demanded such that the site at CCHS is IMPROVED by the additions and not degraded with any shoe-horning efforts. It is an amazing site today and should be protected from any “expedient” decisions or shortcuts.

  19. I will add this about the CCHS site: everyone is talking about traffic congestion, etc., and that is valid. More urgent in my thinking is the pedestrian safety. I have watched the patterns and see horrible problems. Just yesterday I witnessed a near miss at the Sub Base crosswalk directly in front of the school.
    I drive that route daily and it is a child fatality waiting to happen. A young girl had entered the crosswalk (with headphones on!) about 7:20am and I slowed northbound. Southbound a Volvo wagon was racing towards the crossing with no sign of slowing. I stood on my car horn and at the last minute the driver and walker clued in. My heart was racing – I was sure my son and I were about to witness a pedestrian fatality.
    I see students crossing Peachtree Ind Rd ignoring the pedestrian crossing lights heading to CCHS on foot – five lanes. Even if there were no expansion plans for CCHS there are SERIOUS shortcomings to pedestrian safety and access during walk-to-school hours.
    For those that do not know many driving parents (presumably Magnet in most cases) drop off their kids across Chamblee Dunwoody Rd in the retail parking lots. So there is a significant number of children crossing this VERY busy street during rush hour and in the dark.
    The crossing is poorly signed and there are no signal lights or “HAWK” systems. This is a serious mistake! City of Chamblee MUST act on this – after yesterday’s near miss I’ll be formally writing a complaint today and hope, Stan, you can also start a dialog about improving the safety at this very dangerous crossing.

  20. Wow. This is quite disturbing for several reasons. I would like to strongly suggest and encourage that the DCSD get the input of the current faculty about some needs and wishes before proceeding. As a faculty member, yes, we definitely want a faculty only parking lot. It is a bit frustrating to have to “fight” parents, guests, and students for a parking spot every day. If the parking spots are going to be added in the front of the school, as many of the teachers have stated is a good idea, then I hope that would be designated for faculty.
    Also, let’s remember that the N DeKalb Stadium literally sits in our backyard. I don’t believe that building a parking deck near a stadium is a good idea. It simply provides too much space and opportunities for students to be mischievous, skip, consume alcohol, and other things before games. (Trust me, they’re already do it and it’s a big issue.)
    I agree that a meeting with the city of Chamblee should be held to discuss the traffic patterns in the area. Chamblee Dunwoody needs to be widened. Period. From 3 p.m to 7 p.m. it’s already backed up all the way to 285. I can’t imagine what it’s going to look like when the addition to CCHS is done, our attendance area is expanded, the new subdivisions are completed, the new Whole Foods is open down the street, and the new apartment complex is completed.
    My first choice would be to just build another high school on another site. Second choice would be for the city to do massive road expansions to accommodate the increase in traffic. Please DCSD Board, do not move forward this plan!

  21. I think Mr. Gokce made a great point for a Doraville High school! Why expand an existing school, more traffic and congestion. Wasn’t one of the main concerns regarding the CKHS the location of the school. Kids on the North CK cluster will still be traveling outside their own neighborhood to attend school at CCHS. A great ways to help with parent involvement is to have schools geographically close. Especially in a high traffic area ( anywhere inside the Perimeter). Every other “city” has their own high school, why shouldn’t Doraville? It’s one of the fastest growing areas.

  22. Stan, can you publish the annual cost of operations of CCHS? Dunwoody HS? I realize it varies greatly by school but I believe folks would benefit from understanding what it takes to staff and maintain an operating high school. It’s not trivial. It has been my assertion that running four high schools in our region will be significantly more expensive than operating three. This ongoing operating expense and capital maintenance should be part of the dialog but other than me no one is talking about it. While this is a pretty safe intuitive assertion on my part (the $$$) I think the public deserves more insight into the facts. What do you have for us on annual operating expense and average annual capital maintenance over a 10-20 year period?

  23. FY2017 – School House Budgets – Detailed budget for every school in DeKalb.

  24. Interesting. There is an actually need but you are going to talk about operating costs? Of course it takes money, but the need is there! Let’s get this straight, there IS money in education, LOTS! It is because of the complete mismanagement and bad decision making from the county that money is wasted. If “fat” needs to be trimmed, do it at the county level, not at the expense of the children. For someone who advocates, as you state “for Buford Highway” do you advocate for all or just those on the north side? Why aren’t the families on the south side deserving of better facilities?

  25. Anonymous, yes, of course I’m talking about operating costs. We cannot ignore them and would be furious at Stan and the BoE if they did. It’s irresponsible. If money is no constraint, then have Stan bring a $100M bond issue to the BoE and drive its through for the construction of a fourth high school in Region 1. Then, demand he propose the cap millage rate to support additional capital maintenance for the new school and all the run-down existing ones.
    You can turn this into a vague argument about mismanagement and waste but that isn’t what we have to decide. No one supports mismanagement and waste. Everyone wants better facilities (facilities? remember, we’re talking about kids without classrooms). The question is how to responsibly provide those facilities and soon.
    You and I can go arm-in-arm to Stan and his peers to demand greater transparency and reduction of HR costs, etc. Let’s do it! I pulled staffing data and did my point-in-time analysis in 2009 and there sure seemed to be room for improvement in DeKalb! Update that analysis – the data is all published by the State.
    Please don’t pretend we disagree about the need for ongoing oversight and accountability.

  26. There would be a large cost savings that could be put towards a new high school in Doraville (assuming that’s the location) if the three additions proposed for Lakeside, Chamblee and Dunwoody were scrapped (cost for these combined projects is in the $60-70 million range according to Dekalb’s figures) and a new school built instead.
    As for the magnet move, people were opposed to that, but now that the bigger picture is out there and people have a much better understanding of what is on the table, I believe sentiment may shift in that regard. BUT, I don’t think anyone would support Chamblee losing the magnet AND APES getting pulled out of the cluster. So, how would that be addressed? If the magnet were to be moved, would that mean APES stays in the Chamblee cluster? I think Chamblee cluster families’ biggest concern is that the school remain strong through any shuffling around that is to come.
    I’ll also pose the question of what APES does now knowing that Sagamore Hills is strongly petitioning to not be redistricted to Cross Keys? That was one of the persuading factors that was used to convince them to pull out of the Chamblee cluster. What happens now???

  27. Thanks, Stan. So it looks this portion of expenses for our area HSes runs $8-10M per year. Any data on capital maintenance and other costs not reported on these spreadsheets? Even just a planning average from the industry – something along the lines of %5 of build cost per year???

  28. Survey Says: Yes, one-time capital costs would chip away at the $100M. So then the bond is for $30-40M. Point remains the same.
    AP ES did not “pull out” of the CCHS cluster. That is unfair to the community to keep repeating it.

  29. Okay……so what actually happened with APES and why they are no longer assumed to not be included in the Chamblee cluster? Also, you didn’t answer my question about Sagamore Hills and how their desire to stay in Lakeside affects the outcome of said re-clustering.

  30. Kim Gokce is arguing to disrupt the lives of every single high school student in District 1 for his beloved new Cross Keys High School. That’s a fact.

  31. Survey Says, every option put out by DCSD showed AP ES moving and you know that. Again, AP ES did not “pull out” of CCHS cluster and repeating it is unfair to the community. I believe the the location and size of the proposed replacement HS is the most important factor that will determine who ends up drawn into its cluster. Taken with what the enrollment looks like a year prior to opening we’ll all figure it out together. All the talk now is simply fostering fear and loathing. Period.

  32. Run Amok … oh, nevermind.

  33. Yes, the options did show that. BUT…where did the county come up with the idea that Ashford Park should get moved out of Chamblee before the options were published in the first place? Having followed this process from the beginning, there was definitely a progression of events that led up to this idea and to the acceptance of it by the APES community. Some of this has been pointedly discussed in comments to various posts on Stan’s blog. Kim, you know EXACTLY how this played out!

  34. Kim, are you categorically opposed to a Doraville area high school? IF the budget would work AND if Cross Keys gets a new middle school would you still be opposed to it?

  35. Oh and Kim…you still haven’t answered my question about Sagamore Hills….so how’s your master crafted plan looking now with the amount of opposition coming out of that community and school?

  36. Hilary
    Of course he’s against a new Doraville high. Because he (and his “foundation”) want a brand new shiny Cross Keys.

  37. Good Lord, Scam Alert. Take a breath of oxygen and put down the pipe! All personal insults should be directed to 678-361-4200 – I prefer not to waste everyone else’s time here resolving your issues with me.

    Hi Hilary – I have absolutely no problem with a “Doraville HS” as a concept. Thank you for your sincerity and directness.
    The issue has been and remains for me that any kids would be left in CKHS facility as their home HS. I have posed a very simple question: How do we get all our CK kids (BuHi) into a new/proper HS facility? They deserve it as much as any kids and have been passed over repeatedly while I watched from a front row seat. If there is a way to do that, why wouldn’t we? If there’s more than one way to do that, great!
    Frankly, I don’t give one hoot about a new HS being at the current site or called Cross Keys – put it inside the Doraville City limits and call it Doraville HS, put it in the middle of the current cluster in Chamblee, or at the other end and call it Clod-Hopper’s Gultch HS. But it has to work; work for the kids; work for the region; and work for the budget.
    And a quick point about the current recommendation … all of the unbelieveable compliments (!) I receive anonymously on this blog regarding my omnipotence and how I’m steering everything is hilarious.
    The reason the recommendation we have is in front of us is because it is the least worst of the ways we can begin to undo the bad decisions of the past twenty years and the only one that adds up if you look at the entire picture. The leadership of the County Schools doesn’t need me pretending to be in control of their process – and how insulting is that to them, really? But then again that seems to be de rigeur here as well.
    Ok, stay with the light …

  38. Survey Says … how many ways can I tell you that Sagamore Hills was NEVER a priority for me? I’ll try one and then leave it because your wasting time on the topic.
    SHES could stay at LHS. There’s implications for that. It could be split. There are implications for that. It could be moved wholesale somewhere besides LHS and there’s implications for that. In all cases, I expect that we all would demand that they have a proper high school with facilities and programs they need to thrive.

  39. Wow, this is a pretty big deal….it’s the first time I’ve seen Kim G. publicly support the concept of a Doraville High School! That’s great!

  40. Kim, I’m glad to hear you’re not categorically opposed to a Doraville-area HS. I am with you that we have been picking from several poor options – seems to be the running theme for 2016!
    In crunching the numbers it would appear to me that building a CK Middle School and creating a Doraville HS is the only option that truly makes sense. The projections would indicate that there will be plenty of students in CK, Chamblee and Doraville. The county recognizes the need for two new (very large) elementary schools in the current Cross Keys cluster – it only follows that the same space is needed at the secondary level.
    In my opinion all of the retrofitted additions will create unbelievable traffic problems (thinking of the larger community here), cost millions of dollars and create a diminished high school experience for our kids (small cafeterias mean ridiculously early lunch times, gyms that are too small to support school-wide activities, band and choral rooms that don’t have adequate space, etc.). I know you want better for the Cross Keys kids than that – I do too. I also think it is worth noting the concern that many are bringing to light that city municipalities are likely to fight these renovation plans which will further delay getting relief for these kids.
    I think we have a responsibility to make well thought out decisions that solve problems for the long-term. These crazy addition renderings bring to light just how poor a use this will be of millions and millions of tax payer dollars.

  41. There is another option, one that was dreadfully unpopular – but given everyone wants to throw the survey results out – move the magnet program and free up those 600 or so seats. The empty spaces would eliminate the need for the addition at CCHS and maybe even allow for a smaller one at DHS. Just a thought.

  42. Hilary– I think the county is building those two elementary schools cause the need is right now! But there are significant changes coming to the Brookhaven and Chamblee areas and likely Doraville too that, over the next 5 years or so will impact school enrollment negatively. As older apartment complexes are purchased and redeveloped, it should be expected that those redevelopments will not result in nearly as many students as what is there now.
    I think 5 years from now there is likely to be fewer high school students in the CK area than there are today.
    In the meantime though, Dunwoody and Lakeside are bursting at the seams. I am not sure what the answer is– because I don’t think it is possible to build 1 high school that can effictively relieve both those schools without putting students on a bus for a long time. (And remember we would primarily be talking about lower income students whose parents are less likely to have easy access to transportation.)

  43. Shhhhh,
    I think moving the magnet is still a viable option – I just think it was presented in a horrible way. If they could tell people where the magnet would move they might get more support. I think the concern of many is that if it moves too far away a majority of resident Chamblee students would stay a CCHS and then the needed relief for over-crowding would not actually happen and we haven’t gained much of anything by moving the magnet.
    I agree with you completely – there will be fewer high school students in the CK area than currently projected. The redevelopment of the south end of Buford Highway is going to move high-densitiy (affordable) apartment homes north to Doraville. If you couple that with the Doraville development of the GM plant I think Doraville is going to be bursting at the seams very soon.
    I agree with you about Lakeside and Dunwoody, which is why a Doraville-area high school helps all of those. Whereas simply focusing on the current Cross Keys site will only help those at the south end of Buford Highway corridor/Brookhaven which we already know is being redeveloped away from affordable apartment homes to high-end townhomes and single family homes (i.e. fewer students).

  44. Doraville, Chamblee and Brookhaven areas as defined by BuHi/CK are ALREADY bursting at the seams. I think shhhh (how many ‘h’s’?) and Hilary are both having a healthy dialog and one that should continue. These assumptions and guesses about the future are precisely why I do not believe we will need 4 high school clusters for Region 1 in the long run. My guess is no better than anyone else’s. The reason I prefer my guesses is because it is more conservative about the future. I am very skeptical about the projected numbers being realized at the level forecast for the reasons shhhh outlines above.
    Anyone who accepts that (and I know not all do) will see that the only question all other decisions in this study today hinge upon is whether to invest in HS capacity in the East (“Doraville area”) or the West (“Brookhaven area”) of Region 1. My argument is that we already have an “East” HS at CCHS that is already suited to serve the “East” of Region 1 inside I-285. It is perfectly positioned in that regard. Locating more capacity within a mile or two of CCHS simply doesn’t make any sense to me and apparently to DCSD Staff.
    People are rightly frustrated with the prospects of redistricting and reclustering under this current set of proposals. Different people would be frustrated by the creation of a Doraville cluster. So frustration level for me isn’t a criteria that is decisive. All those that want to turn the debate into the tired North vs South and other political or personal axes to grind are not helping anyone except themselves and I’m not even sure about that bit.

  45. Hilary – on this point: “Whereas simply focusing on the current Cross Keys site will only help those at the south end of Buford Highway corridor/Brookhaven …”
    This is all about perspective. My perspective is that the current proposal ensures that all the kids from Brookhaven (Montclair, Woodward, and possibly part of Dresden) are well-served by a new HS at CK area, yes. My perspective does not ignore that the proposal also requires that all the students of Doraville/Chamblee (Cary Reynolds and part or all of Dresden) are well-served by the new HS at CCHS.
    How is this only focusing on the kids of Brookhaven?

  46. Kim,
    Do you have an opinion about the adequacy of the proposed addition at CCHS, that will serve Cary Reyn0lds, part or all of Dresden, Montgomery, and Huntley Hills ES students?
    My concern is that the Consultant’s report described the DCSD plan for adding 600 seats at CCHS as follows:
    “Extremely limited site acreage. Projected enrollment in 2022 would leave the school 23.39 acres under the recommended state minimum for a school its size.” (page 2 of Appendix A.)
    Page 5 of Appendix A includes an Alternate Option that would include purchase of land to better accommodate the addition of 600 more seats, and expansion of parking, kitchen, cafeteria, and media center at CCHS.
    Yet DCSD is not pursuing the Alternate Option. Yes, it would cost more, but how much more? I thought the goal was to make sure that students are well-served, not just to get rid of trailers. Squeezing them into a site that is too small seems like poor planning and a great disservice to current and future students and teachers. And if enrollment should expand beyond projections, there probably wouldn’t be any space left to add trailers.
    Any chance, Kim, that you could support the Alternate Option for adding on at CCHS?

  47. Kim,
    I think the proposed addition does not serve the kids of Cary Reynolds, Dresden, Montgomery or Huntley Hills well. For the reasons I stated above: the retrofitted additions will create unbelievable traffic problems (thinking of the larger community here), cost millions of dollars and create a diminished high school experience for our kids (small cafeterias mean ridiculously early lunch times, gyms that are too small to support school-wide activities, band and choral rooms that don’t have adequate space, etc.). Not to mention the utter disruption of on-going construction all of which is happening on a site far below the acreage needed to support a school of this size.
    The needs of the kids in the Brookhaven end of CK need to be addressed – but not at the expense of the kids at the other end. The current proposal makes things better at CK and worse at CCHS – I’m not sure how that makes common sense to anyone. Furthermore, I don’t see how that could possibly be seen as responsibly spending millions and millions of tax payer dollars. This is certainly not my definition of “well-served” as a parent or as a tax payer.
    On the flip side, if we build a middle school for the Cross Keys site and a smaller than proposed high school, do away with the additions at CCHS, PMS and reduce the additions at LHS and DHS we can make another high school work AND create a better scenario for our kids, not a diminished one.
    I agree with you that the projections are just that projections – some art, some science. The projections include known and unknown variables. The knowns are the past and current trends in enrollment (will these continue as they are? that is indeed an unknown). Another known is the redevelopment that is happening in Brookhaven and in Doraville. While no one can accurately predict exactly what will happen we know for a fact that redevelopment will begin at the south end of Buford Highway. We know for a fact that high-density, affordable apartment homes will be replaced with high-end townhomes and single-family homes. From there some pretty logical conclusions can be drawn.

  48. Anonymous: my hope and going-in assumption was that land would be acquired to support an expanded CCHS. Easy answer to your question: yes.
    The need for an expanded CCHS is not a short-term decision and the solution should be fully sustainable and not degrade the quality of the environment today enjoyed.

  49. Hilary, re: on these becoming “worse at CCHS” … I don’t see it if the necessary support is in place. What precisely is going to be “worse?” For example, size of gym … how big does the gym need to be? CCHS gym and all area gyms seem pretty standard sized to me and I honestly do not understand how this will become an unacceptable situation when there’s more students at the school.
    I’m looking for examples: assembly, pep rally etc.

  50. Kim, what “supports” address these concerns (as you list the “support” that address each concern listed below could you also please list the funding source for each support/program?):
    – the retrofitted additions will create unbelievable traffic problems
    – small cafeterias mean ridiculously early lunch times
    – gyms that are too small to support school-wide activities (this is exacerbated by more students, not solved by it, so I don’t follow your comment above)
    – band and choral rooms that don’t have adequate space
    – disruption of on-going construction
    – a site far below the acreage needed to support a school of this size
    I might be able to swallow all of the impacts created with an addition if there were not another option available to address over-crowding – but there is. Is it the cheapest option – no, it is not. However the money is there and we need to spend it wisely. These retrofitted additions that impact traffic, disrupt learning, limit arts programs and other school activities is not a wise use of tax payer money.

  51. Traffic: Already an issue and will be managed/not managed by City of Chamblee and State of Georgia.
    Cafeterias: Define ridiculous and ask Dr. Sauce how many lunch periods they will need with the current cafeteria. How many do they have now? How many will be needed under different scenarios? This is a valid concern and one that has severely affected Cross Keys and Lakeside for many years. There may be no easy solutions but it should be optimized in every way possible.
    Gym: The complaint I have heard is that “whole school” assemblies or pep rallies are not possible with the projected enrollment. That is correct. I’m sure this is a nuisance but not without mitigations because other schools live with this reality all the time. Is there any other activity the gym cannot support?
    Band and Chorus: What space is required?
    Construction: Again, inevitable and mitigations must be taken but, of course, there will be disruption.
    Acreage: This is a good one and as I said above I would rather see DCSD acquire land for this site. Saying that, though, doesn’t mean we can ignore the reality of DeKalb – we are not a greenfield County in the north and the roomy and salubrious campuses of in the far suburbs will never be achieved here.
    All of these considerations have been activity examined by the planning dept and the public. Our communities must be resolute in setting the expectation for these needs being met, yes. But we must do so acknowledging the realities we face in terms of history, land, and funds.

  52. Hilary/Kim,
    The DCSD plan includes expansion of the CCHS cafeteria, kitchen, and media center (Appendix B page 3). I have no idea if the added size is adequate but at least these areas are addressed.
    The CCHS gym is already too small to support school-wide activities due to fire code limits. No school-wide events, such as pep rallies or assemblies are possible any more, now that CCHS has over 1600 students. I understand that Lakeside HS also has to have 2 separate pep rallies/assemblies to accommodate the whole school. My main concern is that having duplicate pep rallies or assemblies affects instructional time, and I am sad that the entire school can’t celebrate together. But this problem exists now and probably won’t get worse, since I would hope that 2 assemblies of 1200 students each would still work when CCHS has 2400 students.
    I do not think the DCSD plan adds any more locker-room space, which probably will be an issue with 2400 students.
    The traffic is a real concern for all of the schools with proposed additions. Lakeside HS is located in a neighborhood on a 2-lane high traffic corridor that extends from Northlake Mall down to the Druid Hills neighborhood. Dunwoody HS is located in a residential area of 2-lane streets. CCHS is located in a commercial area on a 2-lane corridor that connects Chamblee and Dunwoody. There are no good options to deal with increased traffic.
    As far as the disruption of on-going construction, it is real but can be overcome. DCSD did a good job of managing and minimizing the disruption when CCHS went through the complete demolition and rebuilding during parts of 3 school years. The local community was very helpful and understanding too. I doubt that they expected to be called upon so soon to do it again. That’s why it is important to get this decision right. Needing nearly 30% more capacity at a school just 2 years after it was completely rebuilt is nuts. But that’s where we are.

  53. Kim and Anonymous,
    Orrrrrrrr we could create a Doraville cluster: less traffic in Chamblee, Dunwoody and Lakeside, go back to reasonable capacity at CCHS, MUCH smaller addition needed at DHS and LHS…so cafeteria, gym, band, chorus no longer a problem.
    I think what has saddened me the most by this process is how little we have come to expect from DCSD. There are options, there is something that we can do, we do not need to say, “oh well, it is what it is, this is where we are.” The taxpayers approved E-SPLOST trusting that the right decisions would be made regarding our schools and our communities – we should expect that creative solutions are developed. And certainly we should not accept a “solution” that creates a diminished experience – actually takes away – from the current state.

  54. I think going with smaller schools would’ve been the better solution. I don’t think Option A went far enough, but was at least a step in that direction. Instead of just looking at cost, why not consider value also? The cost per college ready graduate may be lower with smaller schools if they yield a higher graduation rate.
    Larger institutions tend to be more impersonal and bureaucratic. More effort must be allocated just to manage the flow of students through the system. A smaller environment would probably make it easier for kids from different backgrounds to get to know and befriend one another. Less time needed just to keep things running means the faculty has more time for interaction with parents and students.
    This plan takes two large group of kids (who are going through two completely different systems from K-8) and combines them into one large school. It is going to be a lot of work just to keep things running. There will be less time for personal interactions between teachers, students, and parents. Without a viable road map for integration I think we will just end up with two schools within a school at best.
    Speaking of road map, does the DCSD have a plan other than just redrawing the boundaries and hoping this works? Surely we are not the first community to go through this. What has been tried in the past with other communities similar to ours? What failed, why did it fail? What worked, why did it work? What lessons can we learn from past efforts? We have to see that there is a viable plan; that there is a way to make this work so that everyone is better off.

  55. Hilary and Thai,
    I agree with you that smaller high schools are better. I also am very concerned that DCSD’s plan seems to be focused entirely on “is it possible to add seats to a school,” with no mention of the academic and social impacts of the decision. It sounds like academics is an afterthought.
    The ESPLOST-V briefing charts showed that over 3800 new high school seats were needed by 2022, with over 2000 of them in Region 1. The briefing charts also said that 1600 was the standard high school size.
    Yet DCSD’s plan to obtain 2000 new high school seats in Region 1 is to still have 3 high schools in Region 1, but to transform them into mega-schools of 2100-2500 seats, and to have each high school at 99%-100% utilization upon completion. Further, as Thai mentioned, CCHS will now have 2 feeder middle schools. Maybe this is workable, maybe not. The District hasn’t even acknowledged this as an issue.

  56. Much of what the three of you are saying has been discussed over and over and over and …
    At some point we have to actually make a decision that is going to address the immediate and longterm questions. I love smaller schools as long as they are well designed, well staffed, well programmed and well funded. Uh, we do not have that.
    What we have is large numbers of school small sites that have become overwhelmed with enrollment. Why? Bad leadership in a bad political environment making bad decisions – for DECADES!
    Some want to paint me as the “bad guy” because I threw my body on the tracks in front of the DeKalb crazy train to stop us from going further in our disfunction. By all means deemphasize the realities at our already high enrollment schools housed in under sized schools. By all means advocate for a strategic investment of a few extra hundred million or more to refocus DCSD on small school capacity values and benefits.
    Meantime, I have openly and consistently advocated for larger schools and will continue to do so until every kid in our region has a seat in a properly resourced and managed school. We don’t have to agree. We do have to recognize that the status quo is breaking due to real and urgent needs and deal with it.
    The analysis of our situation is months and thousands of hours by professionals and by us. If there is a “fourth way” that can be charted and win over the leadership and address the fundamentals, put me on the team. I don’t see it.

  57. Wait! I’m completely wrong! There – take a screenshot of that!

  58. There is a fourth way. Or, at least, there was a fourth way. In the stakeholder sessions all this year there was a fourth option: redistricting. Yes, that evil, satanic strategy used only by the most hated systems in America.
    DCSD had an option all mapped out that solved ALL the Secondary School enrollment issues Countywide without a single construction site of any size. It was viable and it was the cheapest option by far. And you know what “we” as a community did with it? Laughed. Wadded it up and threw it in the trash bin. Why?
    We have the school capacity in our existing secondary school plant – all we need. But to leverage it would require Wildcats become Bulldogs, Indians become Bulldogs, Bulldogs become Indians, Vikings become Red Devils and Tigers and Tigers become Angoras and Angoras join the Raider marching band and so on and so on.
    Of course we couldn’t have such an evil and satanic plan affect our children and so here we are. Really, there is a fourth way and it would solve 100% of the capacity issue within one year at minimal costs. This would also 100% preserve our small secondary school plant/strategy while we figured out the ES mess and realigned clusters.
    I’m in! How about you guys?

  59. Kim,
    I actually would submit that these small neighborhood schools are overwhelmed with enrollment because they are successful. The model works – so well that people are flocking to the neighborhoods that feed into these schools. I agree that there is room to improve the administration of all of these facilities, but I don’t see how creating larger schools improves/addresses bad leadership and bad decision making.
    I am not opposed to large schools. However, they work well if they are designed to be large schools from the get-go; if they have adequate land, adequate facilities (including things like cafeteria, gym, plenty of room for arts and extra-curriculars). Unfortunately that is not the model being proposed. Rather it is trying to cram a square peg into a round hole – make a small school on an already too-small piece of land – a giant school.
    Dunwoody, Chamblee and Brookhaven are growing by leaps and bounds and land is scarce already – the ship has sailed on creating a series of extra-large schools, the land is not available. And trying to convert a neighborhood school into a mega-school without the land, the adequate facilities and the surrounding infra-structure (e.g. roadways) is simply going to create more problems than it solves. Will it get kids out of trailers, probably. But is that all that we are trying to accomplish here? As a parent and a taxpayer, I’m looking for better than that for my kids and the kids in our communities.

  60. So, are you with me on the “fourth way” redistricting? We can keep our MS and HS facilities more or less as scaled today and save millions!!!!!

  61. Kim,
    I am not wholesale opposed to it. To have an educated opinion I would have to see proposed moves. I would be opposed to “solutions” that increase transportation costs and travel time. I would also be opposed to changes that make it harder for families to be involved with the school – as I’ve already stated I am a big supporter of neighborhood schools that allow for greater parent/can mmunity involvement. If those issues arise with redistricting than all you are accomplishing is really lacing one problem with another.

  62. Actually, the Countywide redistricting would be the least disruptive to all those considerations. In essence, it simply shifts all attendance areas south so a few folks in Dunwoody cluster end up in Chamblee, a few in Chamblee end up in Cross Keys and few in Cross Keys end up in Lakeside or Tucker, a few in Lakeside or Tucker end up in Druid Hills or Clarkston, a few in Clarkston end up in Stone Mountain or Redan and so on and so on …
    It keeps everyone in nearby MS and HS sites and minimizes construction and transportation overall. It is by far the most sensical option and therefore was killed “in committee.” Shall we demand it return?

  63. Stan, would you support this “fourth way” that never saw the light of day?

  64. I would love to see the details and learn specifics!

  65. Stan: Do you have any of the Steering Committee drafts that included this proposed approach? I saw it but don’t have a copy. I just went to dig on the Planning site and it’s down.

  66. Hilary, can you agree with me, though, that the principles you support would be best preserved and promoted by NOT constructing all these additions and by simply optimizing our attendance lines? It’s a diabolically simple concept.

  67. I think it was referred to as the “blank slate” option.

  68. Yes, Mark! That is right – I forgot about that label. It makes so much damn logistical sense it never had a chance.

  69. I definitely believe that these retrofitted additions create significant problems.

  70. So no support for the fourth way that preserved our smaller school plant, minimized disruptions due to construction, minimized capital expenditures and operational costs for transportation by aligning students to the nearest available seats?

  71. … AND provided the most swift relief for the schools most suffering at DHS, CKHS, LHS, and Clarkston?

  72. Not at all what I said – just want to see the details. All solutions have drawbacks. In my opinion our goal should be to find the solution that generates maximum benefit.

  73. With any of the options proposed in the feasibility study, there will be redistricting so I am in favor of at least looking at this fourth option, simply redistricting with what we now have. Did this proposal show suggested student moves, similar to what was shown in the feasibility study? I would like to compare/contrast to the proposal currently on the table. My guess is now that everyone knows what the suggested student moves are in tbe option currently being evaluated, people might be more open minded to the redistricting option as Kim has described it. My two cents.

  74. Survey Says, it never made it that far publicly to my knowledge. If staff has those figures internally, I would not be surprised as they only drafted items that were deemed technically feasible.

  75. Hilary – I totally understand wanting to see the actually proposed approach in writing. But I am pressing the points I made because they are self-evident: not building causing less disruption than building, drawing folks a tiny bit south all the way through the County ensures the minimum redistricting and distances, effects everyone equitably/fairly and is fastest relief.
    If those are the things you truly are concerned about, I’d think supporting such an approach would be an easy call. It is for me and I don’t recall all the details about which street might go where because that is trivial in the scheme of the challenge we are facing.

  76. So, how would we be able to realistically consider this option? I think it might make sense to do so at this stage. Obviously, no one can throw actual support at it without knowing basic details. Maybe we should ask the county to put something together.

  77. And, I don’t mean knowing actual streets. But, certainly the county could put a basic proposal together with charts, similar to what was presented with the three feasibility study options. No one is going to throw support at something without this basic info. I do think it would be a worthwhile exercise for everyone to see such a proposal before the December vote.

  78. Survey Says, I think there was a conceptual map floated around as I recall. It’s pretty simple – the empty seats are in south DeKalb so move the central DeKalb schools lines south and so on. If folks are squawking about moving a couple thousand students around, it would be very interesting to see how moving 50,000 around might be received (made up number to contrast scale of changes).
    My experience is no one wants any redistricting if it involves their property or their child.
    This approach was reviewed in all the stakeholder meeting across the County and it was universally tossed it aside. I’m sure Stan can get a copy of the last form it took prior to being tossed but I seriously doubt anyone pushing back on this relatively minor, regional redistricting will suddenly become a fan of much larger redistricting.

  79. Survey Says articulated exactly what I was thinking. But for me to say I am in favor of it, I need to know what “it” is. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am imagining those who have invested so much of themselves into local schools did throw up in the idea of being moved out of them. It may be that they feel differently now knowing that their local school could be a retrofitted, over-crowded hot mess after millions of dollars have been flushed down the toilet.

  80. … (very likely with the “fourth way”).
    All of Hightower ES, parts of Dunwoody ES and Chesnut ES go to CCHS
    Parts of Dresden and Cary Reynolds to CCHS
    Part or all of Smokerise and Brocket to Stone Mountain
    Pleasantdale and Evansdale to Tucker
    Sagamore and parts of Briarlake and Oak Grove to Druid Hills
    Ashford Park, Most of Montgomery going to CKHS, re-open Nancy Creek to CCHS, parts of Briar Vista
    Avondale areas go to Towers
    and so on moving southward to access the seats that are empty.

  81. There’s more to see farther south but from a Region 1 perspective how is this for you?

  82. … and don’t forget the moves of “parts” of ES zones means redistricting within the remaining cluster. For example, moving folks out of Vanderlyn into Dunwoody, out of Kingsley into Chestnut, etc.

  83. Yeah, I could see the most opposition to a plan like this coming from the Dunwoody area schools. They seem pretty dead set on not changing boundaries. Not speaking for anyone or giving an endorsement to this concept, but at least in the Chamblee/Brookhaven area, we are already faced with pretty significant redistricting under the proposed plan so i don’t think it’s quite as far fetched of an idea for those communities, if that makes sense.

  84. Survey Says, it does. It becomes a “pick your poison” if you are in CCHS current cluster. I also believe this explains in large part why we have what we have on the table – the least worst of less optimal solutions. The optimal solution is DOA politically. And there you have it – this is not about what is best for kids but rather for the most adults.

  85. If you are not familiar with the politics of Smokerise, for example, you might overlook how much opposition there would be to such a plan in south and central DeKalb as well.

  86. Yeah, I can see why people threw up on that – especially CCHS. Comparing that to building a Doraville area high school it is a no-brainer.

  87. And we see the understandable consternation in Sagamore right now … imagine expanding that even more to include moving that school to Druid Hills with bits of Oak Grove. I’m sure that would be very welcome in Oak Grove south. Not.

  88. Hilary, therein lies the crux of the problem: we (BoE, especially) cannot (well, we can) look at this from a single cluster view. That is what got us where we are.

  89. No doubt – it is very complex with no easy solutions.

  90. Kim, I agree with your comment about the single cluster view – we are all in this together.

  91. Hilary, we are! And I’m always glad to be reminded of that!

  92. 4th Option – Utilize Existing Capacity
    Pro & Cons – Options From The Secondary School Planning Study as discussed in the steering committees.

    Pros Cons
    • Best utilizes existing capacity by shifting students from overcrowded schools into schools where capacity exists;
    • Most cost-effective option;
    • Makes available at least one new middle school facility (Miller Grove) for school choice programs or other DCSD program needs;
    • Uses existing site (Briarcliff) for new middle school
    • Disrupts every cluster with attendance zone shifts at every middle school and every high school;
    • Loses MS-HS one-to-one feeders, and may lose some ESMS one-to-one feeders;
    • Does not provide complete relief for over-capacity schools;
    • Still would cost approximately $96 million.

  93. Thanks, Stan. There you have it – a bargain at $96m and everyone gets to share even more wide spread pain.

  94. Use the following attendance zone maps for reference:
    * DeKalb Schools Elementary School Attendance Area
    * DeKalb Schools High School Attendance Area
    I think one of the problems is that we are trying to solve over crowding for everybody with this SPLOST. We should decide what our guiding principals are. Put together a plan using our guiding principals and do what we can to get there. Everything else is just a band aid.

  95. Thanks for posting this Stan.
    Wow, that is certainly A LOT to digest! My gut reaction is that it is pretty dramatic for everyone and I’m sure would meet tons of opposition. BUT, to me, it is a much fairer distribution of changes in every cluster where changes are needed. One thing I’ve had a hard time accepting is that the Chamblee cluster alone is bearing the brunt of change in the currently proposed plan, and by Chamblee cluster, I mean as it is today including APES. I think what gets lost is that OUR community is going to get ripped apart with the proposed option on the table. This is a community like all of the others who play sports together, go to after school together, church, etc. OUR community is no different from that at Dunwoody or Lakeside. Those clusters are insistent on remaining intact and not wanting to share in the solution at our expense. Meanwhile, our community is reeling from this and the whole process has caused a lot of angst and dissention between the elementary schools in our cluster. It’s really been disheartening to see.
    So while the option Stan has posted isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure my family would bode so well with it, at least it widely addresses the overcrowding issues everywhere and no one is immune. It seems like the most equitably miserable option.
    There, I said it and will surely get blasted for it.

  96. Kim can be kind of rude sometimes. But the facts are the facts. Expecting more from DCSD isn’t going to change everyone’s self-interest. A, B, C and D (redistricting) options were either not viable or just bad.
    APES suggested a modification that made Option B less bad. I would really hope we can get the new high school west of I-85. While the APES plan included Sagamore Hills, it’s still the best option even if they stay in Lakeside. It’s the best option that has a chance to get 4 of 7 votes.
    I appreciate all the hard work that APES parents have put into making Ashford Park a great school and their efforts regarding this Secondary School Survey.

  97. Chad, I prefer strident but I’ll take rude.

  98. Stan, I watched the last portion of tonight’s business meeting streaming at home. Can you provide any insight regarding your prodding of Dr. Green and others about their recent meeting with the Doraville Mayor? I was under the inpression that meeting was to discuss the possibility of a Doraville High School, but Dr. Green and Josh Williams were very dismissive of that. Someone isn’t telling the truth, and I appreciated your prodding them on this point. As a matter of fact, I appreciated everything you prodded them on tonight, great work. Thank you for that!

  99. I also wanted to highlight one other important point that was discussed during last night’s business meeting regarding the online survey that took place during the stakeholder input process of the feasibility study. I’m sure many are familiar with the multiple voting that occurred during the survey, particularly at the very end. This was brought out several times in various venues, one being in a Brookhaven Post article. When the County was questioned by the Post about the validity of results, here was the County’s official response (a direct quote taken from the Brookhaven Post website):
    “The online survey is not a contest to determine the most popular plans, ideas, and alternatives. We are not tabulating the responses to the survey. We are looking for thoughtful assessments of the three alternatives that have resulted from a year of study and public meetings including any ideas (e.g., Option D, etc.) that we might not have heard or thought of. In other words, we might end up with an approach that only one attendee or a few respondents offered, if that idea is compelling and best addresses the problems of overcrowding.”
    Fast forward to last night’s business meeting when Stan questioned how the planning firm and County had arrived at the recommended Option B plan when the overwhelming majority supported Option A up until the end of the survey process and during stakeholder/community meetings. Dan Drake actually stated last night that the survey results swayed the official recommendation to Option B. This is in direct opposition to the above official statement and other assurances that the survey results would not dictate the planning firm or County’s final recommendation. According to Mr. Drake, that wasn’t the case. What a sham!!!!
    We are where are now, BUT…..I hope people will consider the actions of County officials and their motives, along with others in the community. The lack of integrity that’s been displayed is truly appalling. I personally feel this has been a process filled with deception through and through. We, as the taxpayers, funding a project of this magnitude should absolutely demand BETTER, and nothing less. What we’ve seen so far is unacceptable.