Sunday, March 15, 2009
USMC Academy - A Good Idea but Perhaps in the Wrong Place
Our Cross Keys thread has been leading a double life. We began a discussion there about the chosen location at Heritage Center for a new US Marine Academy that has generated so much discussion that it now requires its own thread. Heritage Center is a small elementary school off Briarcliff Road between Clairmont and Shallowford, within walking distance of Lakeside HS.
Here are some of the statements that have been received via email or posted on the subject thus far -
I'm all for the new Marine Academy High School, however, I think the chosen location is poor. The Heritage Center is currently a special needs school and was originally built as an elementary school. I'm unsure if it even has lockers or a gymnasium. Beyond that - the school is only a half mile from Lakeside, (not exactly near North Druid Hills as described by Dr. Lewis) down a quiet neighborhood side street.
Since the Marine school is a high school, slated to serve 650 students and 50-75 staff at full capacity, it will cause a huge traffic stress on Briarcliff Rd as well as Heritage Street- since everyone will have to either drive or ride a school "hub" bus or MARTA. There's already lots of school congestion due to student drivers, busses and carpools to Lakeside - the roads cannot handle another 100+ cars in the morning.
A better idea is -- use the soon to be empty Open Campus for the Marines and sell the Heritage property to the county - it's next door to a small (school system owned) park that is currently very highly used with little parking space. The county has the money in the bank to buy up land for parks - and so far - there's been virtually none purchased in our district. Then use the proceeds to renovate the Open Campus for the Marines.
There was $490,000 allocated to the Heritage school in the Nov 06 CIP, but I don't see what it's for or if it's been completed. This money could be returned to the general fund along with profit from the sale of the property.
Or - how about the Willam Bradley Bryant Center (WBBC) for the military academy? Aren't they moving the offices from there to the Mt. Industrial Center? WBBC is easily accessible - right off I-285 at Lawrenceville HWY. Plus - they have lots of parking and a large field.
I believe it's time to take a serious inventory of all of the buildings and properties the school system (taxpayers) owns. By assessing realistically, the conditions of buildings vs the market value of the land we could make better plans for the future as far as re-purposing and redistricting goes. It would certainly help the brainstorming process.
Anonymous said... The old Chamblee MS campus was originally an elementary school and "renovated" to temporarily house a middle school. That facility could in no way accomodate a high school. There is not even enough parking spots to handle the number of school buses that are parked there each day.
Anonymous said... Not to hijack this thread, but it is important for the citizens of DeKalb to understand the following about this Institute:
It is being placed in an area with difficult access. North Druid Hill traffic is horrific and transportation will be horrible. The Board needs a public discussion of why this school is being placed into another school as an academy.
The question all taxpayers (remember the Pentagon is picking up the tab for a big part of this program) should be asking is will the most interested students be able to get there.
The principal's position has now been posted. This school will have no more than 200 students yet the principal's salary will be in the same range of every other DCSS principal. Keep in mind, that at this school, there will be a Commandant who handles everything but instruction. We should all watch to see how many assistant principals this school will have.
Ella Smith said... I see the property on North Druid Hills by Adams as a better place for the Military Academy. There will be plenty of room to grow and also the old gym which is now the Jim Cherry Center could be turned back into a gymnasium.
Any other ideas or options for a location for the military school?