Where Is The New Cross Keys HS Going

Where is the new Cross Keys HS going and how much is it going to cost?

The E-SPLOST V project list includes

• Convert existing Cross Keys HS to a new 1,500 seat Cross Keys MS
• Build a new 2,500 seat Cross Keys HS at Briarcliff site (or “cost‐neutral” location in Brookhaven area)

$85 million was budgeted for a New Cross Keys HS at the former Briarcliff HS site (or cost-neutral alternative site). A majority of the new Cross Keys High School population will live West of I-85 plus students from Sagamore and/or perhaps Oak Grove. The current Briarcliff HS site is East of I-85 on Druid Hills Rd and sits on 17.6 acres. The school district just recently purchased property in Doraville for roughly $1 million per acre.

According to the E-SPLOST V Project Schedule, the new Cross Keys HS project anticipated start date is August of this year. The big questions are:

• Where’s it going?
• How much is it going to cost?
• Are we willing to go over budget to relocate and build the new Cross Keys High School West of I-85?
• If so, where does that money come from?

Dan Drake is the Executive Director Of Operations for DeKalb Schools. He answers some questions about the current state of the new Cross Keys HS project.

Dan Drake

Dan Drake
Executive Director Of Operations for DeKalb Schools

What is the E-SPLOST budget for a new Cross Keys High School?
Drake: Per the voter-approved E-SPLOST V program, the design and construction budget for the new Cross Keys High School is $84.8 million.

What are the latest cost estimates for building a new Cross Keys High School at the Briarcliff site?
Drake: The estimated cost of $84.8 million to design and construct the new Cross Keys High School at the former Briarcliff site has not changed.

What are the latest cost estimates (or estimated range) for building the new Cross Keys High School at an alternative site.
Drake: The design and construction budget of $84.8 million for the new Cross Keys High School has not changed. Per the March 20, 2017, Board Committee of the Whole (COW) presentation and subsequent project listing approval, this budget assumes the new Cross Keys HS facility will be constructed at the former Briarcliff site or an alternative cost-neutral site in the City of Brookhaven. There is no budget allocated for acquiring land at an alternative site as this purchase would be offset by the sale of the Briarcliff site and other surplus properties should the Board approve. The cost estimates to acquire an alternative site and details of such candidate sites are still under review and will be discussed with the full Board in executive session.

If the cost estimate for an alternative site is more, how would that be financed?
Drake: The Board is exploring the use of Certificates of Participation (COPs) to finance the purchase of an alternative site in the Brookhaven area should the proceeds associated with the sale of the old Briarcliff site, and other surplus properties cannot be fully available for the purchase of the alternative site. As a reminder, COPs is a financing mechanism that can be used by government entities for the construction of new facilities, which require the Board approval, but not voter-approval. The District used COPs in the past to (1) finance the construction of the new Chamblee HS prior to E-SPLOST IV and repaid with E-SPLOST IV funds and (2) finance the construction of three new elementary schools (i.e. Princeton ES, Flat Rock ES, and Dunwoody ES) prior to E-SPLOST III and repaid with E-SPLOST III funds. The COPs financing for the new Cross Keys HS land purchase, if needed, could be repaid from the proceeds of the E-SPLOST VI program (2022-2027).

Are there any other details about this E-SPLOST project item that you would like to share that is not confidential?
Drake: The District is exploring land purchase options with a range of 25-45 acres in the South Brookhaven area, in addition to the possible use of the existing Briarcliff site for the construction of the new Cross Keys HS.

15 responses to “Where Is The New Cross Keys HS Going

  1. Marjorie Snook

    sent via Facebook
    What should be done about the Cross Keys cluster? The way that thing was drawn should make ANYONE furious. We have crammed all the ESL kids into one school in an absurdly gerrymandered district.

    What do we do to remedy that incredible injustice?

  2. Angela Barnett

    sent via Facebook
    Sensible redistricting, not this mess.

  3. Marjorie Snook

    sent via Facebook
    I understand, I just don’t understand what ‘sensible redistricting’ looks like. If we change the Cross Keys district, there HAVE to be changes to other districts, as well. But Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside all will resist any changes at all. So how do we fix that situation? How do we change that district while not making any changes to the surrounding districts?

  4. Angela Barnett

    sent via Facebook
    It really depends now on where the new HS ends up. You certainly don’t break up walkable neighborhood schools. An established community should carry some weight, especially when the move would adversely change transportation.

  5. Marjorie Snook

    sent via Facebook
    I agree, we shouldn’t break that up. I am just saying, it is utterly impossible to fix the awful problem we created with the Cross Keys district, which all of us should be ashamed of, without making changes. And someone is always going to be angry. We have GOT to do a better job of treating all of the children in DeKalb equally, not drawing districts that create winners and losers.

  6. I would say the Cross Keys cluster goes up and down the Buford Hwy corridor just like the Lakeside cluster goes up and down the Briarcliff corridor. The very first point in the feasibility study recommendations is to completely recluster Chamblee and Cross keys. http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/09/6814/

  7. Marjorie Snook

    sent via Facebook
    The Cross Keys district is an indefensible travesty.

    When I was at Chamblee, Ashford Park was still districted to Cross Keys. When Ashford Park started gentrifying and the people their had more money and more political clout, they got that school redistricted to Chamblee, which was a devastating blow to Cross Keys. Because apparently in our system, when you have more money and influence, you get better quality education that poor brown kids whose parents don’t speak English and may not even be able to vote.

    And so all those kids were stuck in one district and kept away from the surrounding, more affluent areas. It is de facto segregation and it is disgusting. At the moment, it is a transportation nightmare, with kids from Doraville driving all the way down to CK, passing buses on Peachtree Industrial taking the Ashford Park kids to Chamblee. It is truly appalling.

  8. chamblee getting screwed

    Oh for the love of Moses…Marjorie it’s libs like you who are ruining our high schools. Guess what? You are
    Going to get yournway. This entire cluster (pardon the pun) is specifically designed as social engineering to balance out the socio-economics equally among schools (which by the way is completely illegal). But the lack of building a high school at Doraville and the redistricting of the other schools gives our little utopians everything they want. Big monstrosities – all with equal % gang. Nicely done.

  9. Rouchelle Longley

    This is all interesting, and as we know pure speculation. What I find interesting is the “movement” to larger schools. DeKalb was built on small neighborhood schools. Yes, Gwinnett and Cobb do it, and are obviously doing it better than DeKalb. However, we are forgetting one key factor, infrastructure! DeKalb, for the mist part is located inside the perimeter. News flash, Cobb and Gwinnett are not, larger schools work. Inside the perimeter APS and a very small portion of Fulton operate on a smaller scale as DeKalb because of infrastructure. The parts of DeKalb that are outside the perimeter could operate with larger school clusters, we cannot. All you have to do is drive on Ashford Dunwoody at 7:15 to see why this won’t work. Dunwoody, while just outside the perimeter is highly congested as well. Same goes for the lakeside area. I wish the Board all the luck in the world, they are going to need it!

  10. I would like to know how bussing across I-85 is feasible when the new CHOA facility opens.
    I would also like to know what contingency plans are being considered in the event that the neighborhoods adjacent to Emory are annexed into the City of Atlanta and Fernbank ES which houses over 309 students from Brookhaven/Cross Keys cluster and Druid Hills HS are taken over by APS.
    It seems obvious to anyone who drives in the ITP areas of Regions 1 & 2 that DCSD needs a new Cross Keys HS and an additional high school (at the old Briarcliff HS site) to relieve Lakeside and Druid Hills HS and an additional high school in Doraville. Development and home building are not slowing down and permits are approved by the Coubty Commissioners without consideration to impact on roads, traffic, and schools.

  11. Dear CGS. You are absolutely correct. Our BOE will not do the things they need to do which is redistrict as responsibly as possible. Redistricting is horrible on BOE members. Any decision they make will come under great scrutiny and they will get strong and sometimes uncomfortable feedback. As uncomfortable as it may be they were elected to make the hard decisions. When I served on the BOE we got Sagamore moved into the Lakeside area where it belonged. It took three years of heavy lobbying to get that done. Now the rep. from Dist. 2 and the rep from district 4 (Lakeside) want Sagamore at Cross Keys. This fits completely your argument about social engineering and balancing socio economics. Interesting that the district 4 rep. goes around telling everyone he got Sagamore into Lakeside. Actually he had nothing to do with it. It was a great idea when his children were in Sagamore elementary, but it does not seem as important to him today.

  12. CD, Excellent questions. Historically I get the run around when asking questions regarding problems the school district created that other jurisdictions have to fix … like watershed, parking, traffic, etc. Druid Hills HS going to APS is a big problem that nobody has an answer for yet.

  13. Adding a Doraville High School does make a lot of sense to me. But I think it should be a 7-12 program similar to DSA, but with a math and science focus. It would add a lot of school choice options to Region 1,2,and 3. Also, is there any satellite bus transportation from Region 1 or 2 to Wadsworth or Arabia Mountain HS? Adding sensible direct bus routes may fill some of those open seats.

  14. Interesting that the Buford Highway corridor is now restyling itself as “BuHi,” embracing the businesses and residents along that road as a single, diverse unit.

    It is ironic that this is happening at the same time that DCSD is dismantling the “BuHi”/Cross Keys cluster, splitting it into the “north” and “south.”

    The northern half of BuHi will likely have this school cluster:
    – Cary Reynolds Elementary School
    – new Doraville Elementary School
    – Dresden Elementary School
    – Sequoyah Middle School
    – Chamblee Charter High School (along with the current Chamblee cluster of Montgomery, Huntley Hills, and Kittredge Elementary Schools and Chamblee Middle School)

    The southern half of BuHi will likely have this school cluster:
    – Woodward Elementary School
    – McNair Elementary School
    – the new John Lewis Elementary School
    – plus maybe Ashford Park Elementary School?
    – plus maybe Sagamore Hills Elementary School?
    – a brand new Middle School at the current Cross Keys HS site
    – a brand new High School on either the Briarcliff site or in Brookhaven

  15. Chamblee Charter High School – Rebuild Financing
    COPs were discussed, but DeKalb Schools used a special federal financing options available under the economic recovery legislation at the time. It was called QSCB – Qualified School Construction Bonds. People referred to them as “Q-scabs”.

    Reference: 6/13/2011 BOE Meeting

    Agenda item j19 shows that $59M in QSCB bonds were used for CCHS, along with $11M for CTAE updgrades from E-SPLOST-IV that wasn’t spent (because the contractor said the building was in such bad shape that it would be foolish to add the CTAE facility).

    This totals $70M, for a school with a capacity for 1810 students. Cost breakdown includes $3M to purchase adjacent 5.6 acres apartment complex. This did NOT include a football field or track for cchs like all other high schools have

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