Category Archives: Capital Projects

Plan For More Trailers in Dunwoody and Chamblee

In DeKalb Schools there are almost 4,000 open high school seats across the county. We could redistrict tomorrow and all of our problems with over burdened common spaces and over crowded high schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee would be instantly gone.
However, the school district will be adding 600 – 750 seats at Lakeside High School, Dunwoody High School, and Chamblee Charter High School to balance out the racial diversity and socio-economics of the student populations attending those schools as well as evenly distribute the students from Doraville and Buford Hwy across more affluent schools. I believe there are many reasons why the school district has chosen this path. The main one is they do not want to redistrict because the guidelines for redistricting wouldn’t accomplish the demographic blend they are seeking in North DeKalb.
In the mean time, here is the plan for trailers at the High Schools in Dunwoody and Chamblee.
Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS)
Chamblee Charter HS awaits the addition of 600 more seats expected to be completed on or shortly after the Fall of 2020. Fall 2016 enrollment was 1,624 students. CCHS can expect a Fall 2017 enrollment of about 1,721 students and 4 new classroom trailers. If construction of the seat additions is finished on time, CCHS should max out at 10 trailers by 2020.

Chamblee Charter High School
Year (Fall) Estimated Enrollment Portable Classrooms
2016 1,624 0
2017 1,721 4
2018 1,858 6
2019 2,006 10
2020 2,099 0 (New Additions Completed)

Dunwoody High School (DHS)
In the Fall of 2016, DHS had approx 1,822 students and 4 trailers. 2 modulars were recently added. DHS is expected to have at least 12 portable classrooms before the seat additions are completed. It is undetermined where those trailers will go and if they will ever be inspected by the city.
On Monday the Dunwoody Council will vote on an MOU with the School District for building plan review and inspection of capital and facilities improvements projects within the city boundaries. While the school district and the city bang out the details of the MOU, will our children are going to school in un-inspected trailers?

Dunwoody High School
Year (Fall) Estimated Enrollment Portable Classrooms
2016 1,822 4
2017 1,935 8
2018 1,941 8
2019 1,977 10
2020 1,976 10
2021 2,028 12
2022 2,093 0 (New Additions Completed)

Note: Dunwoody High School, Chamblee Charter High School and Lakeside High School are expected to be at 100% capacity after all SPLOST V projects are completed.

FAQ – Facility Planning & Feasibility Study
Question – Wouldn’t it be best to build the schools a little bit larger to allow for higher than expected attendance levels in the future? Put another way, why build to a utilization of 100% rather than adding additional capacity?
School District Answer – District staff are aware of the uncertainty inherent in any future forecasting. Rather than risk the cost of “overbuilding” by adding much more capacity than is needed, or “underbuilding” by building much less capacity than is needed, the District is recommending adding capacity as the forecast data indicates is needed. These forecasts will be updated annually as we track demographic shifts across the District. Our buildings will be designed so that, if warranted, we can add additional building capacity to accommodate future student capacity needs at each school where possible.

Related Posts

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.

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.

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?

Enforcing Zoning, Building, and Other Ordinances

What authority does a city or county have in enforcing its zoning, building, and other ordinances with respect to temporary and permanent building on school property?

The question of how different governmental entities operating within one jurisdiction with respect to zoning and all other ordinances became settled law, or stare decisis, with the rulings for two court cases.
Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning vs. Bibb County School District – This case set the precedent that governmental entities – in this case a school district – can use their property for their governmental purposes. They are exempt from the rules of zoning so long as the property is used for their governmental purposes.
City of Decatur vs. DeKalb County – This case set the precedent that zoning powers and “supplementary powers” are two separate powers that can accrue to both cities and counties. While a governmental entity operates within the jurisdiction of another governmental entity, they are exempt from zoning but they are not exempt from the supplementary powers. Supplementary powers are those powers that a city or county can use to regulate building and maintenance on a property. This case set the precedent that governmental entities must follow all ordinances of the local jurisdiction outside of zoning.

Does OCGA exempt the school district from any other building regulations, codes and ordinances? Jennifer Hackemeyer was the General Counsel for the Georgia Department of Education for 10 years. She is currently the Chief Legal Officer for DeKalb Schools and helps us dig into this.

Jennifer Hackemeyer
Chief Legal Officer, DeKalb County School District

Based on the decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals in City of Decatur v. DeKalb County, the District is exempt from zoning ordinances but is subject to regulations regarding state fire safety standards (O.C.G.A. §25-2-12(a)(2)) and the Erosion and Sedimentation Act (O.C.G.A. §12-7-1 et. seq.). O.C.G.A. § 25-2-12 through 14 have specific requirements for fire safety for buildings used as school buildings.
In addition, Georgia’s education code requires that the GDOE common minimum facility requirements for each public schools that must include: those provisions of law or state board policy on matters that related to “fire and physical safety; sanitation and health, including temperature and ventilation; minimum space, size and configuration for the various components of the instructional program; and construction stability, quality and suitability for intended uses.” See O.C.G.A. §20-2-261(a).
Additionally, GDOE guidelines provide that temporary educational facilities must meet all applicable state and local building codes and must have a separate certificate of occupancy for each building.
The District is required to obtain building, electrical, and plumbing (if applicable) permits. Inspections are completed by the local authorities and the Fire Marshal’s Office, prior to obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the local municipality.