Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Dunwoody High School Construction Advisory Committee status update on DHS renovation and expansion plans.



As our community is aware, Dunwoody High School (DHS) is scheduled for a renovation and expansion funded by eSPLOST V. DHS was built for a capacity of 1,505 students. DHS currently has about 600 students over that capacity and, according to DeKalb County School District (DCSD) projections dated November 29, 2018, we are projected to be about 840 (i.e., 243 additional students) students over our current capacity in the 2021-2022 school year.

The Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) for DHS, which is comprised of Ms. Cole (DHS principal) and five DHS parents, recently had its preliminary design meeting with multiple representatives of both DCSD’s construction team and the architecture firm retained for this project. The project is now in the schematic design phase. It is our understanding that DCSD is proposing to increase its investment in the DHS expansion project to meet updated capacity projections and to address increases in construction costs in the area. It is important to note that the expanded project is not for 1,000 “new” students (as we have heard mentioned from time to time in the community), but rather is intended to accommodate the 600 excess (over capacity) students that already are attending DHS, as well as the additional population growth of 200-300 students that DHS is projected to receive over the next few years.

While the project design is just beginning, CAC representatives were able to see some initial concepts and are encouraged by these discussions. Some specific items discussed relating to project scope were the following:

1. While the project scope now proposes 41 new classrooms (as opposed to the 26 classrooms initially proposed) for Board approval, these classes are not limited to any specific type of classroom and can include rooms like science rooms, chorus, band, health, math, drama, etc. as dictated by the needs and requests of the school.

2. The DCSD team and architect are taking into account specific requests from the DHS principal and staff related to needs within the school.

3. The project intends to bury the retention pond and add surface parking over that area, adding approximately 120 to 160 parking spaces. This will greatly increase the overall ratio of parking spaces available on site, reducing the amount of parking required in adjacent neighborhoods.

4. The project includes providing artificial turf over the practice field at DHS. This will further improve an area that the Dunwoody community has put substantial recent investment into by providing new bleachers, lighting, track surface, and fencing.

5. The project will include expansion of the media center at DHS.

6. The project will include expansion of (or replacement of) the cafeteria at DHS.

7. The project will include expansion of (or replacement of) the kitchen at DHS.

8. The project will eliminate all trailers at DHS, by providing new permanent classrooms.

9. The project will provide much needed new offices and meeting space for administrators, counselors and school staff.

10. In designing the project, the architect is trying to improve the flow of the school. Among other things, this should help to distribute the student population more evenly throughout the school, which should decrease congestion in certain areas during class changes, etc.

11. Subject to approval of the board, the budget for the project will be increased to accommodate the increased scope.

DCSD’s intent to shift additional SPLOST dollars to DHS (above what was originally planned) will allow the project to meet future projections and more adequately address common area spaces for the students and teachers in our DHS community. Since DCSD has decided that changes to the scope of various projects are appropriate in light of the recent projections, and due to the increased construction costs in our area, we understand that the DHS project, as well as other projects included in eSPLOST V, are anticipated to be presented to the Board of Education in May and brought for a vote in June. With respect to DHS, we understand that the Board will have before it at that time for a vote both the change of scope and an increased budget.

We look forward to continuing to stay a part of this process, and we hope to have full support in helping to make the most of this considerable investment into Dunwoody High School.

Sincerely,

DHS CAC – Principal Cole, David Levy, Kelly Clinch, Chad Griffith, Randi Siegel, Louise Headland

5 comments:

Kate and Jon Harmer said...

This is completely unacceptable and goes again the wishes of the majority of parents, students, and stakeholders in Dunwoody. The school boundary for DHS needs to stop at the city limits and a high school needs to be built in Doraville. End of story.

Unknown said...

It is okay with the City of Dunwoody to almost double the size of DHS, when it already sits on an inadequately sized piece of land in the middle of a neighborhood? Why isn't the city helping to push back and relieve the overcrowding through redistricting when there are 6000 available seats in the county? The retention pond will not get any cars off the street. It will only accommodate the additional student drivers, and most likely not all of them.
These improvements to the cafeteria and kitchen were promised the last go around as well. What about the gym? The locker rooms? The narrow hallways built for 1500 students? Nothing in this new proposal addresses these areas. I will not be surprised if DCSD comes back and says they don't have the money for the little they've promised to do, again. They will ask for more taxpayer dollars through the bond proposal Dr. Greene hinted at during his meeting at DHS in March.

Max said...

John,

I was in Sandy Springs for lunch yesterday and ordered some sweet ice tea. I absolutely HATED the size of my ice cubes.

When is the City of Dunwoody going to DO something about this?!?!?

Oh wait, CoD has no jurisdiction in Sandy Springs? Say it ain't so.

As if on cue, the cheesy, ineffectual and un-neighborly whisper campaign has started. There are those that would have readers believe CoD has committed 'governmental' or 'political' malfeasance. Do not be hornswoggled!

"Believe half of what you hear and nothing you read." Including this!

DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

John, the Mayor, Council Members, Staff, lead us through the uncertainty of start-up, the Great Recession, and now an aging up-cycle. There are more naysayers now than prior to incorporation, but that is to be expected. Everyone has a right to their opinion; however, not their own facts.

RE-Districting may be a great idea and if this turns out to be true, do whatever the City can do to support it - But know that the majority realizes just what the City can and more importantly, cannot do.

Game ON!


Signs and Sundries said...

There you go again Max. Correct me if I'm wrong, but were you the voice of opposition to the formation of the city of Dunwoody. I believe you were very much against this other layer of government. You've really changed your tune. You have a track record of being on the wrong side of things.

Dunwoody, here is Max. Don't be like Max.

Max said...

Hahahaha! "Track record of being on the wrong side of things," pretty much sums up anyone who has an opinion on anything, doesn't it? I am flattered you would think of me and my principled position from over ten years ago - As then, I did not represent anyone or any organization.

Can you say the same?

For the record, I was opposed to the speed in which Dunwoody tried to incorporate. I asked many questions, some questions had unknowable answers - and that made some people uncomfortable. In the end, the people spoke, as they will again and again.

Gladly, I was wrong. Dunwoody has turned out to be a good ticket.

Upon incorporation, I did what I could to help make this little town the best it could be - I was ASKED to participate in several key and critical committees by a Mayor and a State Rep.

Can you say the same?

I did my best to make Dunwoody better.

Can you say the same?

The DHS issue is not about me, petty and simple people will try to lower the bar and make the argument about this person or that, but I trust that people will see through silly 'flame games' and stick to the matters at hand.

Do Better!