Breakdown of DeKalb County School Expansions in Progress
DeKalb County School District (DCSD) currently holds the title of Georgia’s third largest school system with 137 schools and centers, so finding solutions to accommodate the county’s demanding population of 102,000 students, and 14,500 employees (almost 50 percent of those employees being teachers) seems given . DCS Board of Education approved over 5 expansions within the past two years. Three of the schools getting expansions are Lakeside High School, Dunwoody High School, and Chamblee Charter High School. All of the included school expansion projects will not include any renovations or additions to existing infrastructure.
Lakeside High School
What to expect:
750-seat, 38-classroom, two-story addition
Kitchen extension (1,546 sq/ft)
Cafeteria extension (2,025 sq/ft)
New media center addition (4,391 sq/ft)
Three story employee parking garage
138 additional student outdoor parking
At $34 million dollars, Lakeside’s expansion is one of the most expensive in progress.
One of the main reason for the school’s expansion is the overcrowded population. With a current building capacity of roughly 1,756 , Lakeside has a current population will over 2,184 ( 428 students overpopulation) and by 2022 it’s expected to grow to around 2,619 students (863 students over current capacity). Even with the addition eight trailers that Lakeside, still has 27 “floating” teachers without a classroom. “I think we do need some kind of expansion because it seems like when I’m transitioning to every class, I’m walking past at least three teachers walking or leaving to go teach a class.” said Lakeside freshman Julio Ramirez.
Lakeside’s proposed expansion plan has received mixed reactions from the community. “I’m very disappointed that we are just now really talking about the proposed effects of the expansion...I feel like it was a wasted effort,” said Lakeside parent Mark Williams. A group of parents and other residents who live in the area came together to speak about watershed issues, possible increase in traffic, and the speed of the district decision in the first place to the DCSD Board back in November. The group also signed and sent a letter that proposed the previous issues as well as their negative feelings for the respective expansions for Dunwoody and Chamblee Charter High Schools, and asks the Board of Education to “consider longer-term options that are potentially more beneficial for our community at large...”
Dunwoody High School
What to Expect
600-seat, 29-classroom, two-story addition
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)
Some people, like Dunwoody parent Jane Woodley, think it’s time for the expansion. “I am so excited to see how this addition progresses the school has been packed for a while and it’s time we do something. My biggest concern with [the expansion] would be what do they mean by classroom additions?” she said.
The two were available to choose options to help Dunwoody with their population problem (the school currently has 2,093 students and is 588 students over current capacity). Ultimately the Dunwoody School council decided it was better to add additional seats (Option B) to the high school than building a new Doraville high school (Option A). Even though the council ultimately choose A, many member thought that should have picked that option because it would allow more attention and improvements for needed renovations to certain facilities within the school.
“I’m really embarrassed by some of the facilities at DHS.”, says Dunwoody school board member Chad Griffith who believes Option B was the best choice for DHS.
Chamblee Charter High School
What to expect:
a 600-seat, three-story addition to Chamblee Charter High School.
116 space parking lot in front of school fronting Chamblee Dunwoody Rd
Kitchen extension (984 sq/ft)
Cafeteria extension (1,891 sq/ft)
Media center expansion (2,647 sq/ft)
2 story employee parking garage
Chamblee is one of DeKalb’s newly made schools, so additions caught community members off-guard. “This proposed plan is the worst of than [Dunwoody’s and Lakeside’s]. It takes a well thought out design that was recently completed just a couple of years ago, and messes it up by adding hodge-podge additions and parking structures,” said Chamblee parent Alan Welsh.
The alternative conceptual plan that included a 600-seat, three-story addition that adds a net of 30 classrooms, would not disrupt school during construction; but, it would require the purchase of an additional parcel of land.
The school’s expansion has also incited some redistricting. One of the conceptual plans estimates that an additional 400 students will be redistricted from Cross Keys HS to Chamblee Charter HS and 350 students will be redistricted out of Chamblee HS and in Cross Keys HS. “We have too many people at our school. When we have pep rallies, some people sent to the auditorium because not everyone can fit in our gym since it is that small. I’ve been inside Lakeside’s gym and our’s is even smaller than that.” said Chamblee freshman Lucy Roberts. “There 38 people in my first period and I think adding a building will help this. At this point [DeKalb] should just build another school.”