Monday, July 20, 2009

AJC Reports Cross Keys Demo About to Begin

According to an article posted in today's AJC, DeKalb County School System is planning to begin demolition at Cross Keys in two weeks!

In little more than two weeks, demolition at Cross Keys High School will begin. It will erase decades of decline at the DeKalb County campus, transforming brick and mortar literally coming apart at the seams into a newly modern school building.

...As it stands, the system has set aside $20 million and hired a construction manager and general contractor. The school will be open, with students shifting out of areas as they are targeted for work. Patricia Pope, the system’s chief operating officer, said this week in an e-mail that demolition and building prep work will start Aug. 1. Scheduled completion is slated for December 2010.

“We are back on track [and] have apologized to the community several times for the delays,” Pope said. “I am confident that the community will be pleased with the renovations once complete.”

Hurrah! We'll have to get over to Cross Keys August 1st and update you with more photos!


Ella Smith said...

I did get the impression tonight and from this article that Cross Keys may be turned into a Technical School in the future.


Anonymous said...

Can anyone summarize the meeting tonight? I didn't get to watch it.

Cerebration said...

I usually do a report, I have notes, I'm working on it... Gotta find just the right picture of "The Scream!"

No Duh said...

Cere, see if you can find a pic of The Scream with his fingers in his ears! :)

andi said...

I didn't see it on PDS 24 schedule so I didn't tape it. Do they show them live?

I hope it's the real deal with Cross Keys.

Ella Smith said...

I stayed for the whole board meeting and it was interesting to say the least. Dr. Walker, Mr. Womack, and Mrs. Roberts were absent. Mrs. Roberts had surgery, but I did not hear where the other two were. I guess I missed it.

I was the only speaker who spoke just about Cross Keys and this was not what I signed up to speak about but I guess I will do that another time. The last lady did mention this and spoke about all the media attention which really appeared to ruffle some feathers.

I did ask all the questioned that anyone asked me to mention that where posted on the blog.

I do think it is important to look at all the good things that have happen to the school system as Dr. Lewis mentioned at the end. This school board really have worked extremely hard together to try to get things done for the children of Dekalb County and I for one want to acknowledge that. I also do believe that Dr. Lewis is a fine man and has the interest of all the children in Dekalb County when he makes decisions. His job is not an easy job and he cannot please everyone. I respect all the great things his administrations are trying to do for the children of this county.

Cerebration said...

Yes - they always show the meetings live. After that, they rerun them several times during the week. There is a link to the PDS24 schedule at the school system's website, but it's not always up to date.


Anonymous said...

board meeting is not scheduled to replay in the next two days - here is the sked link from DCSS website

Anonymous said...

Kim G., you need to raly up a bunch of people to speak at the next few BOE meetings and make sure Cross Keys stays in the forefront. $20 mil is not nearly enugh. And Womack and McChesney are outta their minds if they don't believe the crazy attendance lines are what is stopping from Cross Keys being packed to teh gills.

Anonymous said...

Let AJC readers know your thoughts on Cross Keys:

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous: "Kim G., you need to raly up a bunch of people to speak at the next few BOE meetings"

I appreciate the suggestion - I think there are stories to be told and facts to be shared with the BOE about CKHS. As it stands right now, I think we are really looking at a more long-term, low key campaign. I do think it is important that more than 1 or 2 voices be heard.

The SPLOST III and HSTN projects are days away from starting. Though I do believe the right long-term decision would have been to re-build CKHS, my hope is that a good execution strategy on the reno will leave the door open to additional investments there. The size of the property leaves open many possibilities.

Don McChesney has said that he wants it done is such a way to enable the BOE to "pivot" as they develop their plans for the school. I'm going to believe that includes not only program changes but potentially additional investments until I'm proven wrong.

Kim Gokce said...

.. also, Don was quoted in the AJC piece saying "we can't leave the community hanging" ... that is very positive. We'll see ...

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: Anon said: "Let AJC readers know your thoughts on Cross Keys:"

Holy moly! I spent 10 minutes over there and came screaming back over here. Thank goodness for this blog! There's a lot of hate being spewed over there. Thanks, Cere, for keeping it keeping it civil and "G-rated" over here.

fedupindcss said...

It's not just the education blog at the AJC--something about all the blogs at the AJC attract the lunatic fringe. Maybe it's just because they know people read them.

I am wondering--several of us are as hooked into what goes on in DCSS as anyone else, probably moreso. So how did it happen that the word on Cross Keys demo got around via the AJC, usually the last outlet in Atlanta to know anything?

Kim Gokce said...

@fedupindcss: I understand that Mrs. Pope's office sent a written response to AJC's inquiries for the story and that confirmed the demo. D]

mykidsmom said...

Those AJC blogs are useless - most of the comments have little to do with the topic at hand or just plain nasty and vile.

Anonymous said...

Good job getting to the AJC. The article was not real clear—unfocused…almost as if the babe didn’t understand the issue.

Also—the reporter as usual didn’t approach the faciltity issue from the standpoint of School System negligence (no emphasis anyway). It was almost like “s--t just happens”—third party stuff.

Anyway—as far as news ops go—the blogs are getting the message across to the point where the AJC has to do something.
("Georgia Unfiltered" may be having that effect also.)

Thanks for your hard work, KIm.

Cerebration said...

One thing we CAN promise is that your comments won't get "lost in the ether" here! However, if we deem them too controversial or radical, we will delete them. Check out our rules about commenting on the home page.

Kim Gokce said...

@cerebration: "if we deem them too controversial or radical ..."

I know what you mean but for those visiting I would say that radical or controversial are fine ... for example, many folks might consider the subject of vouchers radical and controversial and we've discussed that here. The criticism of DCSS, its policies, and some of its leaders shared here has been pretty edgy, at times, too.

The thing I believe none of us want to see is shouting matches, hateful speech (race or lifestyle bashing), and personal attacks.

I think we're trying to accomplish greater discussion and understanding of the issues facing DeKalb Schools here with the goal being affecting positive change. Simply venting is unavoidable at times as many of the issues are very frustrating, but I like to think that your following here, Cerebration, is more about sharing information and action than simply venting.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration--Comment Deletions--Potentially quite arbitrary--do you say "comment deleted due to..." I hope I pass test.
Here goes:

Fedupness--regarding your question about AJC getting hold of a story--happens all kinds of ways--
The more difficult question when thousands of storoes are being fed to them is how they choose which ones to cover.

1. Note the TV News covered it first--so AJC is abliged. Embarrased into covering in print. It also happened when "non-compliant" Creative Loafing led a powerful story--(a) PDK and (b) Mayor's son-in-law drug running.

(2)A FORMER AJC reporter, Susan Lacetti, who lives in Decatur that claimed to have "witnessed" a Jones street encounter with a competign CEO candidate--then fed to her buddies still on staff. She didn't "witness" it, she was told by someone else who wanted Jones out and knew Lacetti could get it printed.

2. Lakeside and Tucker area: The news-people live here--particularly the TV guys.
It's a little unethical, but they'll cover stuff in their neighborhood that they personally are "fed up" with. I just heard that the lawsuit on property valuations was covered by AJC because a writer in Oakhurst was impacted badly--property values have been hammered by foreclosures there.

4. Nasty powerful connected sources. Ex: most stories about Vernon came from people still in his departments from the Levetan administration. AJC ate that stuff up. He coudn't leave his office without the AJC knowing about it. The taped (racial) office to office phone calls, Brook/Head condo living and all police attempted coverups could not have originated any other way.

(4) Any story about the Dekalb Development Authority used to come from Levetan hold-overs. Maybe still do.

(5) Now we have blogging power--the AJC has to keep up with blogs with big readership and connected readers (Georgia Unfiltered in the press community and Hene in Dunwoody). Golke's getting there with the Radar technology.

So how does the average person here "get" to the AJC? Power--find someone that the AJC absolutely HAS to listen to--and someone who's inclined to pass along local intel.

You can find people with the above "characteristics" in Tucker, Oak Grove, Druid Hills and obviously Dunwoody.

Oh yes--you have to have a story that transcends the education reporter (Toro Tores)--she's milquetoast on power structure--needs access and that's a chicken way to get it.

Cerebration said...

you pass, anon!

Really, we rarely delete a comment - I was just acting "tough"... Luckily, our commenters are pretty darn well-behaved and articulate enough to state their opinions without having to resort to cursing and name-calling.

Good idea though - from now on - we'll say "Comment deleted by moderators due to ---"

Dekalbparent said...

Passing this on - got it thru a couple community email links:

Good afternoon,
I'm a reporter for the AJC working on a project about public school maintenance in the metro area. I was looking through some of the posts on your blog, and it's clear that the condition of DeKalb schools has been an issue for some time. I'm interested in your insight -- What have you heard about maintenance problems or excellence from parents and teachers? Please give me a call at 404-526-7045 so we can talk about this.

Thank you,
Claudia Koerner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitutio n

Kim Gokce said...

Just a snippet on the project at CKHS ... Evergreen Construction put up their very large and bright white sign on North Druid Hills last week. It dwarfs the schools own, dull brick sign. Unknowing drivers passing by must think the property has been sold to a private developer - not yet! :)

The construction fencing is up around the last 1/3 of the 4th hall which I believe will be demolished to make way for the new "Tech wing." A construction office has taken up residence in the student parking lot adjacent to the 4th wing and inside the new chain link fencing. Other than that, the only thing I've noticed to date is ladders around the roof at various spots.

Still waiting for a public briefing on the project plan/site plan and a schedule from the contracted vendor ... I sure would like to see the committed follow-up meeting soon!

Anonymous said...

Kim said:
"The construction fencing is up around the last 1/3 of the 4th hall which I believe will be demolished to make way for the new "Tech wing."

Still waiting for a public briefing on the project plan/site plan and a schedule from the contracted vendor ... I sure would like to see the committed follow-up meeting soon!"

Response: demolition will only occur inside the school walls - no external walls will be coming down with current plan, tho fourth wing will be expanded.

Re: community briefing: Dr. Moore seems to be the most knowledgeable person on campus about the reno. DCSS says that in a couple of weeks, when reno schedule is finalized, they'll post it on the website. Dr. McMillan will get regular updates and be the one responsible for conveying info to the community.
Teachers were given an update Monday when work days began.