Category Archives: Construction

1,000 More Seats Are Coming to Dunwoody High School

Adjusting for the latest enrollment projections, the school district will now be adding 1,000 seats to Dunwoody High School (DHS). This is just insane … but it’s the plan.

Clear cutting to make room at Dunwoody High School

Dunwoody High School is a small pocket neighborhood school originally constructed in 1972 and additions to the main school building were constructed in 1973, 1975, and 2011. In 1988, DHS merged with another local high school, Peachtree High School. Peachtree became a middle school and Dunwoody remained as the high school. DHS campus is currently 29.4 acres.

The current capacity for DHS is 1,505 students, while actual enrollment is currently 2,100 students.

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) has updated the long-term enrollment forecasts for each school year from the Fall of 2019 through the Fall of 2025. While I believe the Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts to be woefully under estimated as usual, even with these conservative estimates, Dunwoody HS enrollment is expected to exceed 2,300 by 2021.

Dunwoody 7-Year Enrollment Forecasts

Over the last decade, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the school administration insists that enrollment is going to stop going up. In their forecast enrollment data modeling, DeKalb Schools is currently insisting that High Street will only be a total of 1,500 units.

Richard McLeod, Director of Community Development for the City of Dunwoody, state this week that

There are 3000 residantial untis approved for [High Street] to build. One half (1500) of them will be apartments and the other half (1500) will be condo … I have a meeting scheduled in April with the developers to discuss the plans. They state that they are going to break ground in October or November of 2019.

Over the last 4 weeks, I have sent numerous emails to the Superintendent and Interim Chief Operating Officer Dan Drake asking why they believe High Street will only be 1,500 units. I have not received any explanation yet. If High Street builds 3,000 units over the next few years, DHS is in trouble.

Current Forecasted Enrollment & Addition Size
MGT 2022 Forecast Updated 2025 Forecast Change Original Addition Recommended Addition
Dunwoody HS 2,093 2,337 244 600 1,000
Peachtree MS 1,686 1,513 -173 600 400
Chamblee Charter HS 2,378 2,120 -258 600 600
New Cross Keys HS 2,486 1,739 -747 2,500 2,200
New Cross Keys MS 1,450 1,205 -245 500 200
Lakeside HS 2,619 1,945 -674 750 400
Clarkston HS 2,060 1,510 -550 700 350
Freedom MS 1,630 1,134 -496 400 Cancelled
Dunwoody High School Can’t Handle 2,500+ Students

I’ve blogged ad nauseam how building additions are terrible for the community. The Dunwoody High School Council has pleaded with the board and administration to address the Overburdened Common Spaces.

The DHS band room is the basement dungeon, choir has no room. There will be no additions to most of the common spaces like the gym, locker rooms, fields, storage, or administrative offices. The adjustments to the cafeteria, kitchen and parking are laughable.

In addition to the obvious problems, let’s discuss the issues that aren’t as obvious. Twice as many students means twice as much traffic, twice as many buses lining up the street and around the block, twice as many teams with no space to play or practice, twice as much sewage, etc …

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.