If common spaces are not addressed Dunwoody, Lakeside and Chamblee communities will end up with more seats but little in the way of common space improvements for the students they already have, let alone the additional seats.
DeKalb Schools will bring to the board on Monday a recommendation to construct a 600-seat, 29-classroom, two-story addition to Dunwoody High School. The project will also include
- Kitchen extension (1,731 sq/ft)
- Cafeteria extension (485 sq/ft)
- New media center addition (2,020 sq/ft)
- New parking – paving over the retention pond (160 spaces)
The Dunwoody School Council presented a Position Statement supporting additional seats (Option B) at our high schools over a new Doraville high school (Option A). I disagree with the recommendation to go with option B, and would prefer building another high school at a site in Doraville.
If we are going with Option B as the DHS School Council says they prefer, then I want to advocate for everything Dunwoody High School needs and expects. Indeed, the Chair of the Dunwoody High School Council, Chad Griffith, and others who agree with him, say that the main reason they support adding 600 seats to Dunwoody is that Option B addresses many critical needs, and they hope there will be attention and improvements for badly needed renovations to certain facilities within the school.
In addition to the common spaces already scoped out (kitchen/cafeteria, media center and parking), all the other common spaces at Chamblee Charter HS, Lakeside HS and Dunwoody HS need to be addressed in any expansion of seats at these schools.
Dunwoody High School Facilities
“I’m really embarrassed by some of the facilities at DHS and, again, this is part of the reason that I find it hard not to receive an investment in our school when it is on the table”, says Chad Griffith reflecting on why Option B was the best choice for DHS.
The DHS Gym doesn’t have the capacity to handle the students there now. Griffith relayed the story, “Coaches have told me that they have to run practices until 9:30 at night and they have very limited opportunity to practice out of season because of the limitations of only one gym.”
DHS doesn’t have a working score board – “We have boys/girls soccer and lacrosse as well as other events on our track, and we have to use little flip charts for scoreboards because there is not even power to our non functioning scoreboard that is probably 50 years old”, says Griffith
DHS needs a place for choir. “I’d expect one of the 29 new classrooms to address the chorus room need”.
In summary Griffith says, “One reason I have trouble getting comfortable with a new high school and associated cluster is that DCSD can’t even provide very basic items for our existing schools. If we add another school in the mix that is taking from the money, how are we going to be any better off at have raising the bar on DCSD facilities? That’s not going to help DHS or DCSD from my perspective.”
The school district released their plans regarding the additions at Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside. The school district is currently not planning any renovations or additions to these other critical common areas.
If these common spaces are not addressed, in the case of Dunwoody High School, the community will end up with 600 more seats but little in the way of common space improvements for the students they already have, let alone the additional seats. The same thing appears to be true for Chamblee and Lakeside. The bottom line: more seats and less common space per student. That is not acceptable.