So much for the Brookhaven Cluster. The new Cross Keys Brookhaven High School will NOT be in Brookhaven.
SPLOST V includes “Build a New Cross Keys HS (2,500 seat capacity) at Briarcliff site (or cost-neutral alternative site)” with a budget of $84.8 million.
Over the last several months, the administration has brought to the board potential candidate sites ranging from 25 to 35 acres in size along the Buford Highway corridor (between North Druid Hills Road and Clairmont Road), as the potential location of the new Cross Keys HS.
The DeKalb County Board of Education voted to build the new Cross Keys HS at the former Briarcliff HS site this past Monday at the monthly board meeting. The 26.7 acre site includes the temporary John Lewis ES and North DeKalb stadium parking areas.
The vote was split 3-4. The thee board members who represent the Cross Keys community (Orson, McMahan and Jester) were opposed to the Briarcliff site for the same reasons (more or less):
1. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have a high school out of the attendance zone and on the opposite side of I85 from the community it serves.
2. North Druid Hills is one of the top 10 worst congested streets in Metro Atlanta and will only get worse when the new Childrens Hospital of Atlanta (CHOA) opens.
3. The Cross Keys community has been neglected for far too long.
The other four board members voting for this project did not say why they voted to proceed at the Briarcliff site. The school district put out a press release saying:
1. None of the sites reviewed were cost-neutral, and based on the additional factors shown below, the Board of Education decided to terminate their search for candidate sites and build the new Cross Keys HS at the former Briarcliff HS site.
2. The cost for the purchase of the land (not including finance costs nor the sale of the Briarcliff property) along Buford Highway would have ranged from approximately $36 to $54 million; with the finance costs and the sale of the Briarcliff property, net costs would have totaled approximately $19 to $38 million (land acquisition plus relocation and financing costs less the sale of the former Briarcliff property).
3. The candidate sites along Buford Highway included would have required the relocation of apartment units
Additionally, the school district press release attempted to address the traffic situation saying:
DCSD is coordinating a review of traffic conditions around the Briarcliff site in collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA):
* CHOA, through its Community Investment Agreement with the Brookhaven Development Authority, has already committed $200,000 to the Interchange Modification Report (IMR) soon to be initiated by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
* CHOA has committed $10 million for the local match for the City of Brookhaven for the interchange improvements to support the growth of traffic in the area due to its new facilities—this $10 million is a 20% match that will bring down an additional $40 million in federal funds for the roadway improvements.
* CHOA is conducting a detailed traffic study as part of its application to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for its Development of Regional Impact (DRI) study that reviews the traffic improvements needed in the area for the new expansion of the hospital campus situated at North Druid Hills Road and the I-85 interchange.
* DCSD is also conducting its own traffic study this spring, in collaboration with CHOA, as the architect for the new Cross Keys HS will initiate its design process for the new Cross Keys HS at the Briarcliff site.