Tag Archives: Dunwoody High School

Game On Capital Campaign – Dunwoody High School

“Game On” is a campaign by the Dunwoody High School Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), School Council, and Community Association, to originally raise $2 million for capital improvements to the DHS athletic facilities including

  • Artificial turf for multi-purpose field
  • Running track replacement
  • Outdoor lighting for multi-purpose field
  • Spectator seating/bleachers
  • Field house with concessions and restrooms

Coordination with DCSD
E-SPLOST V  projects for Dunwoody High School include a 600 seat classroom addition, artificial turf installation and covering the retention pond/swamp.  In March, the Board received and approved the administration’s plan for the timing of all E-SPLOST V projects. I voted against accepting this timeline but it was passed on a 5-2 vote. The projects at DHS aren’t scheduled to begin planning and procurement until February of 2019. Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until October 2020. The expected completion date is between June and September 2022 (at the earliest).
The Game On Capital Campaign would like to decouple the athletic facility improvements from the E-SPLOST projects. The Capital Campaign would like to accelerate the schedule of the athletic field improvement component of E-SPLOST V. The district said they will investigate the feasibility of accommodating this accelerated schedule as they proceed with overall planning and design work.
Investigation of Accelerated Schedule
The school district must consider how at least 2 key variables will affect all of the E-SPLOST projects at DHS, not just the athletic field improvements. Those variables are the location of a sufficient water retention pond and the location of the 600 seat addition.
DCSD has indicated their intention is to put out RFPs, make awards, and then begin each E-SPLOST V project according to the approved scheduling plan. Once the awards have been made, the school district will understand how the key variables for DHS addition and improvements interplay. At that point they will know if the current retention pond location will be sufficient for the site or if another retention area must be created and placed under the athletic fields.
If the current retention infrastructure is sufficient and if the building addition doesn’t require the reconfiguration of the athletic fields, then it is more likely DCSD can decouple the athletic field improvements from the overall project. If that happens then the Game On Capital Campaign can move sooner to accomplish its goals.
If another retention pond must be constructed or if the building addition will impede on the current athletic field areas, the Game On Capital Campaign may face a delay in starting their projects.
The RFPs have not yet been released by the school district. This is still several months out. Once they go out, it will take some time to gather the responses and determine the award. From that point, it will likely take another year to perform preliminary designs and conduct a feasibility study to determine the impact of the addition and field work. Based on the data and feedback from the school district, and if the athletic field improvements are able to be decoupled from the whole project, the best case scenario is that the capital field improvements breaks ground the Summer of 2019.
What is a matching fund?
The Dunwoody School Council and school administration have been told by DCSD that the district would match any funds the community raised. One of the items included in E-SPLOST V’s project list is an upgrade to artificial turf fields for all of the high schools. The budget for field improvements is the same for all high schools. Regardless of the amount of money Dunwoody raised, the school district has budgeted the same for Dunwoody.

Pros and Cons of adding 600 seats to Dunwoody HS

In October, as the DeKalb School District offered up three options to address capacity needs in North DeKalb, the administration met with school councils and had a few meetings around the county. At the time,the administration estimated that, if Option B was selected, $23 million would be spent at Dunwoody High School (DHS) and add an additional 600 seats.

If Option A was selected, SPLOST V money spent in North DeKalb would go towards building a Doraville High School. Once completed, some students would be redistricted out of DHS to a new Doraville High School. Keep in mind, the current attendance zone for Dunwoody High School includes all of the city of Dunwoody, plus one elementary school with an attendance area almost entirely in Doraville.

The DHS school council chair communicated to me that the council wanted to see money spent at DHS. He shared that the council envisioned renovations to existing media rooms, art rooms, locker rooms, band room, choir room, gymnasium, fields and other common areas, in addition to the 600 seats.

Shortly after the DHS school council sent in their letter supporting a modified Option B, including the 600 seat building addition, the administration reduced the amount of money to be spent at DHS from $23 million to $16 million. Subsequent to reducing the funding, the administration then released the conceptual plans which included no renovations and very little additions to common spaces. I can only assume the timing was intentional as they had the conceptual plans since July.

Stan Jester

Moving forward, I’m trying to understand the support for the building addition.
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.

Will the addition of 600 seats (300ish students) or redistricting 600 students out of DHS make things better or worse for the school and the community?

600 Seat Addition District Out 600 Students
Cafeteria Area Worse Better
Kitchen Neutral Neutral
Parking Worse Better
Media Center Neutral Better
Gymnasium Worse Better
Field Space Worse Better
Field Conditions Neutral Neutral
Band Room Space Worse Better
Choral Room Space Neutral Neutral
Hallways Space Worse Better

Supporting Documentation
.pdf link icon October 2016 FTE Enrollment Report, by school, by grade
Dunwoody HS – 600 Seat Addition – Conceptual Plans
.pdf link icon GA DOE Guideline for Square Footage Requirements for Educational Facilities 160-5-4-.16 (a)
.pdf link icon 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List

Joshua Williams

Joshua Williams
DeKalb County Chief Operating Officer

“The capacity additions will provide the needed classroom space plus any increase in core spaces (kitchen, cafeteria, gym, and media center) or parking that are needed to serve the larger school size based upon District and GA DOE standards.”
Joshua Williams has made it perfectly clear the school district will do the bare minimum to meet district policy and state standards.

Cafeteria Area
The 600 seat addition will include a cafeteria extension of 485 sq/ft. A 485 sq/ft extension to the cafeteria to accommodate a 600 seat addition makes no sense. Redistricting 600 students out of DHS leaves the students with more cafeteria space per student.
The 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List includes $17,000 for new kitchen equipment whether DHS gets the addition or not. The Kitchen extension of 1,731 sq/ft is enough to accommodate the building addition. Redistricting students out of DHS would also help by reducing the necessary kitchen capacity.
Parking is already atrocious at DHS due to the overcrowding. Along with the building addition, the district recommends paving over the retention pond to add 160 parking spaces. A building addition of 600 seats, 300 more students and untold staff means less parking per student. Redistricting 600 students means more parking per student.
Media Center
GA DOE requirements spell out the Media Center requirements. The new 2,020 sq/ft media center addition keeps pace with the building addition. Redistricting 600 students means more media center space per student.
The DHS school council chair, Chad Griffith, spoke at length about the capacity issues with the DHS gymnasium. The building additions will do absolutely nothing to address the gym capacity issues and will only make a difficult issue worse. Redistricting 600 students means more gymnasium per student and fewer issues.
Field Space
The building additions does not include a land purchase, and will thus result in less field space per student. Redistricting 600 students means more field space per student.
Field Conditions
The 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List includes $.79 million for field improvements. This will happen whether DHS gets an addition or not.
Band Room Space
The band room is a dungeon. From what I can tell, they converted the basement to a room where they put the band. The building additions projects does nothing to address the dungeon. Redistricting 600 students out of DHS will result in more band room per student.
Choral Room
DHS current has no home for the choir. Neither the additional seats nor redistricting students will address that.
GA DOE Guideline for Square Footage Requirements says that small schools must have corridors 8ft wide and large schools must have corridors 12ft wide. There is no formula to calculate the recommended width of corridors for mega schools, so DHS is on its own if it adds 600 seats. The hallways would become more crowded. Reducing the population at DHS would help with the overburdened areas like hallways.

Chamblee Charter High governance team has also expressed their opposition to the school district’s plan to add seats to their school. Lakeside High School Council has not made any official statements, but is slated to get 750 new seats They both face similar issues as Dunwoody High School. I plan to blog soon on their issues.

Note: Of the 7 board of education districts that contain 24 high schools, district 1 only contains 2 high schools. District 1 is underserved by high schools.