A couple of weeks ago I wrote an e-mail to Ms. Pat Pope the Chief Operations Officer at the DeKalb County School System looking for some information and access to public records which were recently taken off the school system website. Ms. Pope attended a meeting in Dunwoody that evening and a friend of mine also hand delivered the letter to ensure that she received my request.
Unfortunately I have not received a reply from Ms. Pope or her staff therefore I may be forced to file an open records request in order to get the records that I believe the community deserves to see.
As Chairman of the Citizens for Dunwoody, Road & Transportation Task Force, I have been tasked to review the infrastructure needs of the community and set a preliminary draft transportation budget in order to prepare the future city for a smooth transition from the County. If road and signal improvements are required to be done in front of the new school by the City, we need to be informed of these improvements ASAP. Unlike the Peachtree Intersection fiasco the City of Dunwoody would like to budget and install the proper traffic infrastructure for the school but we would also expect that the engineering and design plans needed for the improvements would be handled by the County government currently in place.
The new school has broken ground and is already under construction. Yet the community is being kept in the dark as to the construction & design of the school and I would have to believe that they are operating with little regulatory oversight from the County.
I have not been to the site since ground was broken but someone should be ensuring that a proper buffer of trees are protected in order to shield the nearby neighbors. The records I originally found on the web mentioned a change in the tree protection fence, but was it a positive or negative change? I saw that the school was originally designed to have lots of natural light in order to reduce energy consumption, but a recent change to the design ordered that all of the skylights were to be removed from the school and replaced with florescent fixtures. Why? Wouldn't natural light be more conductive to learning and more energy efficient?
Since there is no PTA established for this school, I believe that someone needs offer guidance to the school system as to ensure the desires of the community are communicated. The Dunwoody Homeowners Association might be able assist with the design features or maybe a subset of the feeder schools PTA's could form a special committee to assist with this matter? As my eight year old son Riley is scheduled to be one of the first students enrolled into the school in 2009 and I will have children in the facility for four years straight, I am willing to serve on such a committee. Who else would like to join me?
Until that group is formed, I will continue to push to obtain the documentation that I originally requested from Ms. Pope. My request was as follows:
The DeKalb County School System's motto is that "The school cannot live apart from the community." and maybe they should really try to live up to their end of the bargain.
- Please inform me if the attached site plans are the most recent and if a comprehensive traffic study was conducted on Womack for this project?
- Has a final engineered traffic site plan been developed for the site which would show all needed road, striping & signal improvements?
- If neither a traffic study nor a final traffic site plan has been developed, I would like to request that both be conducted in the very near future so that the information can be presented to the community in order to alleviate their concerns over the location of the school and the related traffic patterns.
- As my committee is also looking into storm water compliance, we are also interested in obtaining these plans and other technical drawings / reports on the construction of the new school.
- At the meeting at Peachtree which initially introduced the Academy concept, you stated that all drawings and construction plans were and would remain available on line. That evening I reviewed your website and downloaded everything which was available but just recently the documents were taken off the web. Could you please return the documents to the web and provide me (as well as the community) the internet address to continue reviewing these documents as they become available from your shop, the DeKalb County Government and/or the construction contractors?