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.
Executive Director Of Operations for DeKalb Schools
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.