In October, as the DeKalb School District offered up three options to address capacity needs in North DeKalb, the administration met with school councils and had a few meetings around the county. At the time,the administration estimated that, if Option B was selected, $23 million would be spent at Dunwoody High School (DHS) and add an additional 600 seats.
If Option A was selected, SPLOST V money spent in North DeKalb would go towards building a Doraville High School. Once completed, some students would be redistricted out of DHS to a new Doraville High School. Keep in mind, the current attendance zone for Dunwoody High School includes all of the city of Dunwoody, plus one elementary school with an attendance area almost entirely in Doraville.
The DHS school council chair communicated to me that the council wanted to see money spent at DHS. He shared that the council envisioned renovations to existing media rooms, art rooms, locker rooms, band room, choir room, gymnasium, fields and other common areas, in addition to the 600 seats.
Shortly after the DHS school council sent in their letter supporting a modified Option B, including the 600 seat building addition, the administration reduced the amount of money to be spent at DHS from $23 million to $16 million. Subsequent to reducing the funding, the administration then released the conceptual plans which included no renovations and very little additions to common spaces. I can only assume the timing was intentional as they had the conceptual plans since July.
Moving forward, I’m trying to understand the support for the building addition.
The speculation that some Dunwoody residents would be redistricted out of DHS seems to be the only reason for any continued support of the building additions.
Will the addition of 600 seats (300ish students) or redistricting 600 students out of DHS make things better or worse for the school and the community?
|600 Seat Addition||District Out 600 Students|
|Band Room Space||Worse||Better|
|Choral Room Space||Neutral||Neutral|
October 2016 FTE Enrollment Report, by school, by grade
• Dunwoody HS – 600 Seat Addition – Conceptual Plans
GA DOE Guideline for Square Footage Requirements for Educational Facilities 160-5-4-.16 (a)
2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List
DeKalb County Chief Operating Officer
The 600 seat addition will include a cafeteria extension of 485 sq/ft. A 485 sq/ft extension to the cafeteria to accommodate a 600 seat addition makes no sense. Redistricting 600 students out of DHS leaves the students with more cafeteria space per student.
The 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List includes $17,000 for new kitchen equipment whether DHS gets the addition or not. The Kitchen extension of 1,731 sq/ft is enough to accommodate the building addition. Redistricting students out of DHS would also help by reducing the necessary kitchen capacity.
Parking is already atrocious at DHS due to the overcrowding. Along with the building addition, the district recommends paving over the retention pond to add 160 parking spaces. A building addition of 600 seats, 300 more students and untold staff means less parking per student. Redistricting 600 students means more parking per student.
GA DOE requirements spell out the Media Center requirements. The new 2,020 sq/ft media center addition keeps pace with the building addition. Redistricting 600 students means more media center space per student.
The DHS school council chair, Chad Griffith, spoke at length about the capacity issues with the DHS gymnasium. The building additions will do absolutely nothing to address the gym capacity issues and will only make a difficult issue worse. Redistricting 600 students means more gymnasium per student and fewer issues.
The building additions does not include a land purchase, and will thus result in less field space per student. Redistricting 600 students means more field space per student.
The 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List includes $.79 million for field improvements. This will happen whether DHS gets an addition or not.
Band Room Space
The band room is a dungeon. From what I can tell, they converted the basement to a room where they put the band. The building additions projects does nothing to address the dungeon. Redistricting 600 students out of DHS will result in more band room per student.
DHS current has no home for the choir. Neither the additional seats nor redistricting students will address that.
GA DOE Guideline for Square Footage Requirements says that small schools must have corridors 8ft wide and large schools must have corridors 12ft wide. There is no formula to calculate the recommended width of corridors for mega schools, so DHS is on its own if it adds 600 seats. The hallways would become more crowded. Reducing the population at DHS would help with the overburdened areas like hallways.
Chamblee Charter High governance team has also expressed their opposition to the school district’s plan to add seats to their school. Lakeside High School Council has not made any official statements, but is slated to get 750 new seats They both face similar issues as Dunwoody High School. I plan to blog soon on their issues.