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Dear Decaturish – Talley Street school site plan needs adjustments

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Dear Decaturish – Talley Street school site plan needs adjustments

Photo provided to Decaturish

Photo provided to Decaturish

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Dear Decaturish,

We, the undersigned​ concerned Decatur parents, write this letter in advance of the City Commission meeting to express our hopes that some minor adjustments can be made to ​the proposed Talley Street School site. The current proposal severely limits the outdoor play space, a major issue for the proposed 750 children that are expected to attend Talley. For the health of our children, it is paramount that sufficient outdoor space exists at Talley Street School to ensure that our children will have enough space to be active during recess. Our suggested revisions below ensure enough that parking spaces will exist for faculty and staff while protecting the green play space for all children who will attend Talley.

We believe that four key changes are needed for the well-being of the students who will attend the Talley Street School.  We have made these requests to the City Schools of Decatur (CSD).  However, information has not always been made available to the public in a timely fashion, making it necessary to quickly raise these concerns to the Decatur community at this time. For example, no site plan has ever shown any future modular classrooms on the grass field. The possibility of this placement was only obtained after a parent submitted an information request on January 9, 2018.

Requested Changes

1) Provide enough parking for ALL the estimated 75 faculty and staff in the parking lot but not more than is needed. It is important to note that there are 24 on-street spaces and 8 “flex” spaces directly in front of the school that will remain available. Space freed up by reducing the size of the parking lot would be recaptured as additional green space for outdoor PE ​or other outside activities. If an addition were needed in the future to accommodate more students, the school could expand the parking lot if necessary to ensure parking for all teachers and staff.

2) Move the area for “future modular classrooms” off the already small main field and onto newly recaptured green space​ south of the parking lot​. ​(See our proposed site plan at the beginning of this letter.) If we have enough students to warrant modular classrooms we will also need the outdoor playspace for those children. If and when a future classroom expansion is needed, having trailers on the field will also result in an extremely limited play area for the children during the building phase.

3) ​Agree that the tree preserve area​ ​will be maintained both now and in the future as a “playable” area for the students. This is a concern since many of the current schools limit student play in wooded areas. ​

4) ​Commit to working on walkability to Talley Street School from all directions in conjunction w/ GDOT and City of Decatur. Walkability is also a priority for the school system and is already collaborating with the City of Decatur on this issue. We parents encourage the Decatur City Commission to be mindful of approaches to the school and to work towards making this a “Safe Route to School.”

CSD has expressed agreement with and support of requested changes numbers 3 and 4.  However, items 1 and 2 are also very important for optimizing space on the small site.  We plan on raising all four issues at the City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, January 16 at 7:30 pm and request the Decatur community’s support in realizing these changes.

Please sign our petition, write or call your city commissioners and school board representatives to let your voice be heard.

With the strength of our combined voices, it is our hope that CSD will hear us and present a revised site plan reflecting these requested changes to the city commissioners on Tuesday. If so, we will fully support that plan.

​We commend the talented architects of Perkins + Will for their beautiful design, and we want to express our gratitude to them for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with us this week.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

The undersigned parents of Decatur:

Nancy Green

Gwin Hall

Becky Slemons

Kate Simpson Gardes

Damon Mauldin

Brendan Gardes

Lisa Coronado

Beth Kelhoffer

Catherine Barnes Anderson

Ingrid Staalstrom

Sarah Hagenbush Jones

Andrew Jones

Haley Curtis Stevens

Evan Anderson

Erica Frene Waters

Alison Walter Kyle

Wendy Reiser Cromwell

Neena Ghose


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