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Decatur School Board to discuss master plan, new upper elementary school project


Decatur School Board to discuss master plan, new upper elementary school project

City Schools of Decatur is planning to construct a new early learning center and upper elementary school as the district addresses capacity needs over the next five years. Photo is from the CSD website.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. for a work session. The meeting will be held in person at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave. in Decatur.

The meeting will also be available virtually through Zoom. To attend the meeting via Zoom, click here.

To view the meeting agenda, click here.

During the meeting, the School Board will discuss the district’s five-year master plan. The master plan includes a $24 million project for a new combined early learning center and upper elementary school along West Trinity Place between Electric Avenue and Commerce Drive, across the street from the CSD central offices. The lot currently an open area and is owned by the school district.

“When it was purchased there was agreement made between the city, Decatur Housing Authority, and CSD that an early learning center would be built on that property,” Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said.

Fehrman also said that “both Talley and [Fifth Avenue Upper Elementary Schools] are projected to be over capacity in the next five years, so additional classroom space is needed. At this point, it is very preliminary and just one option for addressing growth in our student population.”

Talley Street Upper Elementary School is expected to reach its capacity by the end of the school year. Talley Street has the capacity for 742 students and is projected to have 757 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year.

The five-year Capital Construction Master Plan addresses options to update and maintain the school and non-school facilities and will set the direction for development and growth at CSD to support the school system’s vision, according to the agenda packet.

The early learning center would have an infant center, one and two-year-olds classrooms, a pre-school, and pre-K classrooms. The new building will double CSD’s current early learning center capacity. College Heights would be converted into a lower elementary school with a capacity of 325, as Winnona Park Elementary School has reached its capacity.

The upper elementary school would have 10 classrooms with the capacity for 250 students total, and an administrative suite. The facility would also have a new media, multipurpose space, and a kitchen and cafeteria.

City Schools of Decatur has proposed a $24 million project in its five-year master plan to construct a new early learning center and upper elementary school. The project would potentially be located on the property at Electric Avenue and West Trinity Place. Photo is from the CSD website.

Fifth Avenue Upper Elementary School will also see $9.25 million worth of renovations to expand the campus. The school has the capacity for 661 students, but the school’s enrollment in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years was 681. Enrollment is slightly down this year at 654 students but is projected to increase to 678 by the 2024-2025 school year, according to the agenda packet.

At Fifth Avenue Upper Elementary School, 12 classrooms will be added, increasing the school’s capacity to 700 students. The gym will more than double in size, expanding from 2,041 square feet to 5,000 square feet.

The kitchen and media center will be expanded into a cafeteria. Additionally, the school will get a new cafeteria area, a new synthetic turf playing field will be added, 24 new parking spaces will be included in the parking lot, as well as additional bus queue space.

City Schools of Decatur plans to partner with the city of Decatur to build a track and field at Legacy Park. The project would include a synthetic turf field sized for soccer but set up for football and lacrosse, an eight-lane track, 500-person capacity bleachers, an event plaza and a future field house. The estimated cost for the school district is $2.5 million.

Additionally, the School Board will  review the district’s grievance policy for staff and students. Superintendent Maggie Fehrman previously said the district will update its grievance policy to provide a clear route to submit grievances, including those against the superintendent and the highest levels of leadership.

The agenda packet states that all certified and non-certified CSD employees have the right to present and resolve complaints relating to matters that affect the employment relationship at the lowest organizational level possible.

“The District encourages all employees to resolve their complaints informally in a spirit of collegiality where possible. This procedure is available where such efforts do not succeed or, where for any other reason, the employee desires to pursue this procedure,” the agenda packet says.

Students and community members can also report incidents to any school staff member or the Title VI compliance liaison if they have been discriminated against, or treated unfairly or unlawfully because of their race, religion, gender, or other protected classes.

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