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Decatur School Board approves design for Legacy Park track and field

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Decatur School Board approves design for Legacy Park track and field

The Decatur School Board met on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, at the Wilson Center to discuss the Legacy Park track and field design. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board, at its Aug. 8 regular meeting, approved the design for the track and field at Legacy Park.

The project is a joint effort between the school district and the city of Decatur. CSD anticipates construction will begin early in 2024 and will be complete next fall.

Breedlove Land Planning of Atlanta will lead the planning and design effort for the track and field. The new track and field were identified as a community priority in the 2018 Legacy Park master plan, according to the Legacy Park website.

The Decatur City Commission approved the design at its June 20 meeting.

“The final design…will include eight synthetic track lanes and 400 meters of track with a turf field to accommodate the needs for soccer, lacrosse, and football,” said Sergio Perez, CSD chief operations officer. “We anticipate the facility will be used regularly for training. The proposed plan includes the removal of the existing pool and significant improvements to the existing old gym to provide storage, ADA access, and restrooms. Additionally, the renovated space includes a shared space for maintenance and equipment.”

The planned improvements also include lighting, a field house, and stormwater management. The design calls for natural tiered seating, concessions, and accessible parking as well.

“The proposed field house will provide potential indoors during inclement weather, office space, a first aid room, an electrical closet, basic concessions, and stands, six restrooms…additional storage for equipment and a hydration station,” Perez said.

The city has committed up to $3 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding for the project, and the school district has committed $3 million in education special purpose local option sales tax (ESPLOST) funds.

The location of the track will also require slight adjustments to the cross-country trail at Legacy Park.

As for the next steps, the school district and city will draft a memorandum of understanding outlining the processes for operations and maintenance.

In other business:

– Superintendent Dr. Gymiah Whitaker gave an update on the Georgia Milestones.

“Overall, the City Schools of Decatur remained among the top districts in the state as well as our metro Atlanta region in all content areas for the Georgia Milestones,” Whitaker said.

She added that Beacon Hill’s highest gains were in sixth-grade math and seventh-grade English.

“But we also acknowledge that the data highlights areas where our instructional framework must be strengthened to ensure that we have equitable outcomes for all students,” Whitaker said.

According to the agenda packet, all elementary English language arts scores ranked in the top three in the state, and 84% of elementary students are proficient or distinguished readers. Fifth-grade scores also had the state’s highest percentage scoring distinguished on the English language arts.

The administration is planning to conduct a root-cause analysis next week on the Milestones data to look at the student performance in all subgroups, which includes grade, race, gender, economic status, and learning environment. Whitaker will share the results of the analysis during the school board’s retreat on Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. CSD is working to confirm the location for the retreat.

“Another area of growth is CSDs upward proficiency trends in special education and the performance of Black students at the middle school level,” the agenda packet states. “In seventh and eighth-grade math, as well as seventh-grade ELA, students have experienced double-digit percentage growth. Furthermore, there is increased proficiency in sixth-grade math and eighth-grade ELA for both subgroups.”

– Whitaker also reminded the community that she is holding listening sessions beginning today, Aug. 9, where she will ask questions of attendees to gather input. Attendees are welcome to share input and a certain amount of time will be dedicated to each question. Anyone interested in attending does not have to sign up to speak before the sessions.

Here is the schedule:

– Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center of Decatur High School, 310 N McDonough Street.

– Thursday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. in the Professional Learning Center at the Elizabeth Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave.

– Monday, Aug. 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Clairemont Elementary, 155 Erie Ave.

– Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom. To join the Zoom meeting, click here.

– Monday, Aug. 21, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Beacon Hill Middle School, 220 W College Ave.

– Friday, Aug. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Fifth Avenue Upper Elementary School, 101 Fifth Ave.

– The school board has updated its meeting schedule and will meet once a month. Here is how the school board will hold meetings going forward:

Executive Session:      3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Pre-work Session:       4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Work Session:             5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Board Meeting:            5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Public Comment:         6:30 p.m. – 6:50 p.m.

“The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education is revising the schedule for monthly board meetings,” a press release from CSD states. “The change aligns with the board’s strategic goals of ensuring organizational effectiveness and efficiency and making board meetings more student-focused.”

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