Mega High School Construction Update

There will be a Chamblee Charter High School Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Monday, Feburary 12th at 5:00-5:55pm in the Auditorium.
Design options will be discussed concluding with public comments.
This is an open meeting for anyone interested to attend.

Approval of Architectural and Engineering Services
On Monday, the Board of Education will be discussing the Architectural & Engineering (A/E) Services for the design of the replacement of Cross Keys High School. Included in the RFQ for an A/E firm is this paragraph:

The anticipated scope of this project is the design of a new high school with approximately 119 instructional units. Components of the new building include but are not limited to classrooms, media center, fine arts areas, auditorium, kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasium with indoor track, special education classrooms, career technology labs, administrative offices, and building support spaces. Site amenities include but are not limited to a practice field with artificial turf and track, baseball field, softball field, and tennis courts. Accompanying parking areas may require a parking deck to accommodate needs. Areas for future growth, including an additional practice gym, should be included in the plan. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of the scope of work. The selected Architect/Engineer shall confirm and obtain DCSD approval of full scope of work prior to the start of design.

  1. Parking areas may require a parking deck
  2. Future growth includes an additional gym

• I don’t think a parking deck was part of the original estimated cost. The price tag on this project seems to keep going up.
• Why aren’t we putting in the auxiliary gym now? Why are we building a school that can’t adequately accommodate its student population?
• What are we doing about auxiliary gyms at the high schools getting building additions?
• Chamblee Charter HS doesn’t even have a track. While they are next to North DeKalb stadium, CCHS can only use it when the school district isn’t using it. Since it’s the only stadium in North DeKalb, its in use during the week … especially in the Spring.

Update – DeKalb Schools Targeted Space Requirements.
In December Joshua Williams said the targeted space requirements for new high school builds were for a capacity of 1600 students. He said the district is putting together new targeted space requirements for larger new high schools. What is the status of those new targeted space requirements?

Joshua Williams

Joshua Williams
DeKalb Schools Chief Operating Officer

Joshua Williams: The Operations Division, in conjunction with the Curriculum and Instruction Division, are in the process of revising the Educational Specifications for Middle schools and High schools. The standards revision process includes benchmarking our current standards against peer school systems in the Atlanta region and Georgia Department of Education requirements and assessing the District’s existing middle and high school space sizes (including programming requirements).
As a final deliverable, the District is revising to 1,200-seat and 1,800-seat middle school education specifications, as well as 1,800-seat and 2,500-seat high school education specifications. These education specifications will address core size standards (i.e., physical education, kitchen, cafeteria, and media center), the program or distribution of classroom types (i.e., general classrooms, special education spaces, career tech labs, etc.), parking requirements, etc. for a new middle school or high school. While these standards are for new middle or high schools (e.g., new Cross Keys High School), the District will also use these educational specifications to provide general guidance or “targets” for the additions associated with the existing middle and high schools under our voter-approved E-SPLOST V program.
We expect to have the education specifications revised by the end of March 2018.
Question: How will the high school building additions, like the one at Chamblee Charter HS, accommodate the expanding special needs student population?
Joshua Williams: As per our design management protocols, special populations (e.g., special needs, ESOL, etc.) and other specialized requirements for a high school, like Chamblee Charter HS, will be assessed by the Architect of Record contracted to complete the design of the addition for that school. Additionally, these specialized requirements will be reviewed during various user group meetings consisting of representatives from the Operations Division, Curriculum and Instruction Division, local school staff, and other project stakeholders as appropriate.
Question: What targeted space requirements/guidelines are you using for the new Cross Keys HS build?
Joshua Williams: The targeted space requirements/guidelines for the new Cross Keys HS facility will utilize the forthcoming Educational Specifications for High Schools, slated to be completed in March 2018.
Question: What targeted space requirements/guidelines are you using for the Chamblee Charter HS building additions?
Joshua Williams: Response: The District will use the forthcoming Educational Specifications for High Schools to provide general guidance or “targets” for the Chamblee Charter HS building addition. Based on feedback and input from the local school administration and construction advisory committee (CAC), the project team will work collaboratively with the Architect of Record to incorporate these “targets” into the design process as best we can, given any unique project constraints.
Question: What is the maximum enrollment at Chamblee Charter HS that their current gym is designed to accommodate?
Joshua Williams: Per Georgia DOE space requirements, the minimum size for physical education spaces (i.e., gymnasium and their related spaces) for high schools is 22,000 square feet, regardless of the school’s enrollment. The total existing physical education spaces, not including the natatorium and its related spaces, at Chamblee Charter HS is approximately 36,500 square feet. The forthcoming Educational Specifications for High Schools will provide our Architect of Record with “targeted” guidance for any modifications to the existing physical education spaces, including but not limited to the current gymnasium, at Chamblee Charter HS.


Adequate Space Requirements
For Mega High Schools

February 2, 2018 – DeKalb Schools is adding seats in North DeKalb and is entering the era of Mega Schools. The new Brookhaven Cross Keys high school will have a capacity of 2,500 students. Surely a school with more students will need more common spaces

Lakeside HS Council
Not A Fan of the Building Additions

January 24, 2018 – To balance out the racial diversity and socio-economics of the student populations attending Lakeside HS as well as evenly distribute the students from the lengthy Buford Hwy Corridor, the E-SPLOST V Project List includes a 750-seat, 38-classroom, two-story addition to Lakeside High School (LHS).

DeKalb Commissioners Not A Fan of the
E-SPLOST High School Building Additions

February 15, 2017 – DeKalb County Commissioners are unanimously asking the DeKalb County School District to build a new high school in Doraville and not add a bunch of classrooms to Lakeside, Dunwoody, and Chamblee Charter High Schools.

750 More Seats at Lakeside HS? Why?
January 30, 2017 – Lakeside High School is currently cramming 2,184 students into a building with a capacity of 1,756 students. Only one other school in North DeKalb scored a below average 2016 School Climate Star Rating. How will adding 750 seats to Lakeside High School improve their School Climate Star Rating and academic achievement?


Is 600 More Seats At Chamblee Charter HS A Good Idea?
January 17, 2017 – Please help me understand why adding 600 seats to Chamblee Charter High School is good for anybody in that community? I suspect that any support is driven by redistricting.

Pros and Cons of adding 600 seats to Dunwoody HS
January 7, 2017 – Moving forward, I’m trying to understand the support for the building addition at Dunwoody High School. 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.

15 responses to “Mega High School Construction Update

  1. ROBERT Douglas

    Is it not time for a new state of the art high school in South Dekalb, what is the time line for one?

  2. Hello Robert. I believe the district is spending $8.5 to combine DESA (Dekalb Elementary School of the Arts) and DSA (Dekalb School of the Arts) at the Avondale Middle site. Otherwise, South DeKalb has 2,000 more high school seats than it is currently using.

  3. Stan,
    What are the plans for the Avondale High School after DSA moves out?
    I want to restate my opinion that it should be renovated into a CTAE and tech magnet school. Expand access to those programs utilizing the facilities the district already owns.

  4. I don’t know.

  5. How the district plans to identify how much space is needed for Speech therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and small group instruction/testing in all eSPLOST V construction projects?
    In SPLOST IV, my concerns were totally ignored. The elementary school prototype has a closet for speech therapy to support 900 students. No other identified space for therapy. Where do other therapies take place? How many speech therapists can work in a 10′ by 16′ room at one time? Where do students go for pull-out small group instruction?

  6. Kirk,
    I agree with you. DeKalb needs a state of the art CTAE Tech Magnet School. This would be a great option for students who are interested in college, as well as students who want to move into the world of work.
    Cars, HVAC Systems and plumbing installation are becoming more and more complex. These are all professions that have a future and pay well. The Heatlh Care field is growing, both the medical side and the business side. I am sure that there are companies that would support this kind of school.
    The only problem I see is that DeKalb would have to start paying industry people on a pay scale that is equal to the teachers. When a Career Tech Professional is hired, they are not paid for the number of years that they have worked in the industry. Many times they have to take a pay cut to accept the job.
    Speaking of hiring, the HR report was not posted on the BOE Meeting notes. I checked last night.

  7. Joy,
    I wrote to the board secretary about the missing documentation for several of the agenda items. The Human Capital Management Report will be generated tomorrow morning so what the BOE looks at and what is posted are the same thing. My hope is she posts it before the work session, but won’t hold my breath for it.
    We need a professional HR manager. One with a degree and experience in HR, not a principal who screwed up so badly he was moved to HR. It has been a year and it seems as though the district is no closer to fixing the Human Capital Management (HR) department. The audit of the department was so bad, the BOE won’t even discuss it publicly.

  8. New Chief HR Officer?
    Note: Agenda Item – D. 16. PLACEHOLDER ~ Approval of a Personnel Recommendation
    Monday’s February Human Capital Report

  9. Stan,
    Thanks for posting this HR data. I have a question about the Aesop Absence Management data.
    At first I was shocked by the low fill rate at my school, but then I realized that I didn’t know how many absences had occurred. A low fill rate for only a few absences a month might be OK, but if there were lots of absences and very few of them were filled, then the problem is bigger.
    So I think an important # is missing – the number of teacher absences in each school.
    Don’t we really care about
    1) Loss of instructional time, measured by the # of students who had class without their teacher. Isn’t the loss the same whether a substitute teacher was in the classroom or whether another teacher at that school was forced to cover when no sub was hired for the absent teacher?
    2) Imposition on teachers who do come to work, measured by the # of teachers who lose their planning period to cover a class where no sub was hired, and whether those teachers received any compensation for at least providing supervision.
    I appreciate that you provided this information – no one else from the county does!!! But before I get totally upset I’d like to know more at the school level. Or I’d at least like to hear Principals address this at school meetings.
    On the District level, it looks like they had 7158 absences that needed a sub during the 15 school days in the period Jan 3 – Jan 31 (21 days). Keep in mind that Jan 3 was a work day (no sub needed), Jan 15 was the MLK, Jr. holiday, and that school was closed for 4 days (Jan 8, Jan 17-19). 7158/15 = 477 absences per day.
    For about 6000 teachers, 477/6000 = 8% absence rate. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you think about high school kids on block schedules. Block schedule students take a year long course in just 1 semester, so losing 1 day is like losing 2 days.
    So much to think about.

  10. Kirk and Joy,
    Every DCSD high school has Career Tech courses. Every high school has the Engineering pathway and a JROTC program, and most have at least 2 more programs. Cedar Grove has 7 CTAE teachers, the same as the # of English teachers there. Miller Grove has 9 CTAE teachers, the same as the # of English teachers there. McNair has 6 CTAE teachers, and only 5 English teachers. Dunwoody has 12 CTAE teachers and 13 English teachers.
    In addition to these Career Tech courses at every school, DCSD has 2 Career Tech centers.
    The High School of Technology-South serves students from 14 DCSD high schools, and the Career Tech center at Cross Keys HS serves the other 10 DCSD high schools. Each of these special centers has at least 9 Career Tech programs. Most are equipment-intensive programs, like Construction, Automotive Services, Manufacturing, Dental Science, and Cosmetology.
    Capacity is hard to determine. The HSTS website says that its capacity is 615 students, yet the DCSD School Capacity Report states that it has 11 CTAE classrooms and a capacity of only 200 students.
    Capacity at the Career Tech Center at CKHS is impossible to tell, since it’s part of a regular high school. But the DCSD School Capacity Report says it has 9 CTAE classrooms, so its capacity must be a little less than HSTS. It’s not clear what will happen to these labs and equipment when this facility becomes a middle school.
    Plus DCSD has the Career Tech “Magnet” program at Arabia Mountain HS. Students have to apply, have a 2.5 min GPA, and can be sent back to their home school if grades drop. They can choose from 8 CTAE pathways in addition to Engineering and JROTC. Capacity is hard to estimate, but there are 12 CTAE classrooms and 11 CTAE teachers.
    So DCSD has already put a lot of money into Career Tech. I’m not opposed to spending more, but let’s not forget about what we already have. I’m assuming that enrollment at the special Career Tech centers is full, but who knows.

  11. Bernice Gregory, Ed.D – Chief Human Capital Officer
    Compensation: $176K plus benefits
    Hiring Manager: Dr. R. Stephen Green, Superintendent (Green Resume)
    .pdf link icon Resume – Bernice Gregory
    .pdf link icon Job Description – Chief Human Capital Management Officer
    • Master’s degree from a Professional Standards Commission approved accredited college or university
    • Doctorate degree from a Professional Standards Commission approved accredited college or university
    highly desirable.
    • Minimum of ten (10) years experience as an administrator in a school system setting or as an executive
    in a corporate environment with demonstrated successful advancement through the administrative or
    executive managerial hierarchy, as appropriate, required.

  12. I am sorry, but a system this size DOES NOT need an “administrator” from a college with a purchased degree running their HR department. We need someone who has a Business and HR degree and has HR experience in a Fortune 500+ company. She is coming from a system with only 24,000 students and less than 1500 staff members. I would like to know the company that recommended Dr. Gregory to us.

  13. I haven’t published an article I wrote about some recent new hires. I’ll boil it down to just the facts and publish. Let’s continue this convo on that new thread. Give me a few minutes.

  14. Richard Taylor II

    Mr. Jester, I agree all the High Schools, should have an on-campus stadium, track field, baseball, softball etc. Also, they should have lights at every high school.