Thursday, July 16, 2009

some pics from the CKHS gym

Here are the pics of the rumored floor collapse at CKHS gym mezzanine (sorry it's so blurry - I was NOT supposed to photograph). The collapse is just a large hole, but it proves lack of structural integrity, which is why the mezzanine is now closed to students. Too bad - it WAS their weight room. You can see some quality equipment that's abandoned for now.
Other photo you might have seen - the back walls of the gym where the ridiculous (and costly) temporary a/c system pipes into the gym along the back wall - right next to the corners of the gym where that wall does NOT meet the side wall - that is the sky and sun from outside showing through the corner gap (which exists on each side) .


Anonymous said...

Call the Health Dept. and OSHA and I'm betting it wouldn't pass inspection ny either!!!

One Fed Up Insider said...

Call the Fire Department. They will close the school. They are strict with fire codes.

Anonymous said...

I think they got around any threats from fire department and safety by closing the area

Ella Smith said...

They get around the ramp situation which allows disabled individuals in trailers by getting special permits from the county. It is really sad. The same situation is here.

It is a know fact that you can see the stars at night and the moon from the gym of Cross Keys. School board members in the area are aware as we have talked about it. This is why I cannot believe that they do not have something planned to do to improve the situation.

I am speaking Monday night and I will mention the Cross Keys situation. Is there something special I should say?

quill said...

@Ella Smith..

I don't know what else you can say about Cross Keys, however I do ask you to request that Board Members produce a written timeline outlining the expected completion dates for construction Phases at Cross Keys.....

....On another note: I stopped by Redan High School the other day and it's in shambles due to construction. I mean they had piles of construction materials in the parking lot, including air conditioning units that I suppose needed to go on the roof. Inside, the ceilings are gone from a large portion of the building and the exposed parts have wires hanging down all around. You can't even go in the front door. It's good that they are finally getting around to fixing that school (SPLOST dollars deferred for the past several years)...But how in the world does Dekalb County expect that school to be ready for returning students and teachers in less than ONE MONTH ????

.........SIDE NOTE: Is there any truth to the rumor that several top officials in the county got pay raises to the sum tune of about $1-million. ? ??

Kim Gokce said...

@Ella: "I am speaking Monday night and I will mention the Cross Keys situation. Is there something special I should say?"

I've sent messages to officials requesting that they hold a formal ground-breaking for CKHS reno. Could you ask this publicly during your 3 mins?

Supposedly, the project ground-breaking is set for Saturday, 8/1/2009. I think Dr. Lewis, Mr. McChesney, Dr. Walker, Dr. McMillan, design team members and other appropriate officials and community folks stand together to herald this long awaited and important renovation. Please also asked that they bring in VIP alumni and a couple of the students from the incoming class of '10.

If they don't want to do this, let them know that the community will organize it. This is very short notice but "the community" has no official communication about any start dates or plans for this effort.

Thanks for helping out, Ella!

Kim Gokce said...

@Ella: ... better yet, let's ask they include a student from each of the incoming classes ... we need these kids to know how much they have the system's and the community's support!

Cerebration said...

Say - I've heard that Richard Belcher is an alumni - maybe he'll speak! He would certainly inspire the kids... Maybe - we could even create a 'wall of fame' at CK - I'm certain that over the years, the school has graduated many success stories!

Cerebration said...

Exactly how long has that hole been there? Anybody know? Is that some of the equipment donated to CK by the private school kids?

Anonymous said...

DCSS must deal with the asbestos in Cross Keys. Three years ago a construction crew learned about the asbestos by unknowingly exposing it. Some teachers at Cross Keys have reminded the county about the problem. One teacher has identified all the remaining asbestos hot spots in the school, and the county seems a little blase about it.

Cerebration said...

I wonder if asbestos issues have anything to do with why the architect quit! "Outside meddling" seems like a totally unbelievable excuse. Architects don't care about that - they wouldn't quit over some busy-bodies and if they did quit, I'm certain they must have done it in writing. Something else must have broken down - I'd like to know the real reason.

Quotes from Pope's reports --

Pat Pope's CIP report dated Oct 08 states, "Cross Keys High School: Renovation and Relocation of the Dekalb High School Technology North Program: CM/GC At Risk proposals were received on September 16, 2008 from five firms. On September 19, 2008, four firms were interviewed. At the October meeting, the Board of Education approved the CM/GC At Risk Contract award to MEJA Construction, the lowest responsive responsible bidder in a lump sum IGMP amount of $11,000,000. The Design Team has commenced
with the preparation of construction documents with the anticipation of a Land Disturbance Permit
being issued in January 2009."

Pat Pope's CIP report dated Feb 09 states, "Cross Keys High School: Renovation and Relocation of the DeKalb High School Technology North Program: Preliminary Architectural design is complete and was submitted by Richard Wittschiebe Hand to the Georgia Department of Education on January 28, 2009 for review and comments. Request for Proposal for Soil Borings were received in late February 2009. Request for Proposal for the CM/GC at Risk is due for advertisement in March 2009 and scheduled for Board of Education approval in April 2009."

How about an Open Records request - asking for the letter of resignation from the architect and correlating documentation relating to the contracts and communication involving MEJA Construction, Richard Wittschiebe Hand, The Georgia DOE and DeKalb County School System relating the cancelled contracts on the Cross Keys project ? Anyone want to take it on? All you have to do is go to the link below and fill in the blanks - and it will generate the letter for you. Send it to Pat Pope - and report back -- piece of cake!

greenie said...

small curiosity -
has anyone downloaded the "Annual CIP Update"from DCSS Operations' home page?
4th annual lunch & learn at Arabia Mountain 2/20/09. A few statistics from that meeting:
The focus was on Going Green and we're doing Great! (happy hard hats)
SPLOST II update: 6 projects remain in design/construction - will be complete by Dec 09
CIP 2007-2012 includes completing deferred work
CKHS was top of the list of projects in Design
but this is my favorite part (w/ photo of a girl sticking her tongue out):
"We've got a lot to brag about!
•100% of our projects are Under budget (when you factor in the escalation costs for delays)
• 98% of our projects are ON TIME
• overall program is 30% ahead of projections!"
Maybe they pulled a Dr Lewis and just forgot to include CKHS and HSTN in those statistics? b/c it's a lot more than 2% of their projects!
Then there's a brag about only ONE change order; No Claims or Delays
They actually update on technology and green initiatives for which they deserve kudos. but once again, it seems like Cross Keys is glossed over as not counting
Maybe this was in the five minutes b/n them awarding a bid and the architect quitting?
And all the Green initiatives?
I'm still waiting for the emphasis on REDUCE before Recycle!

Cerebration said...

I've always said that I think Pat Pope is an excellent construction manager and has a proven record of keeping projects on time (once they start!) and on or under budget. She is the reason SPLOST 3 has gone so much better than SPLOST 2. She has an enormous job - and Dr. Lewis is notorious for placing random new issues on her plate from out of the blue like the plans for a $80 million Center for the Arts to shop around - or the military academy emergency start-up. These things only trample the progress of the items on the already approved list of priorities and cause projects like Cross Keys to continue to get sidelined as the BOE reacts to the most vocal communities. In spite of all that - she still maintains a pretty sharp focus on the tasks at hand.

The girl sticking out the tongue is a little bizarre though...

Ella Smith said...

It does not appear to me that Cross Keys construction is on time. It is way over due. We were told one thing at the meeting last spring and then we has heard nothing else. Something is definitely in the works I believe.

Kim Gokce said...

@greenie: "98% of our projects are ON TIME ..."

While I share your frustration with what appears to have been a long-standing tradition of glazing over Cross Keys in priority discussion, I think I can guess how this performance figure is considered accurate.

In the project management world (I confess this is my profession), the Cross Keys HS SPLOST III project is not considered to have started. Therefore, it is "not behind."

The delays in starting are an indictment of the governance process that births these projects, not of the project execution.

To those still working and studying in the squalor at CKHS, this fine point is of no comfort.

Kim Gokce said...

@ella: "Something is definitely in the works I believe."

I will eat my CKHS spirit wear if any surprises come out this fall. I take Don at his word - the SPLOST III project and Tech North move will forward as planned.

I do agree, though, that the BOE is looking at Cross Keys anew and I hope there will be a very healthy discussion during the coming year about it's future.

I believe that if the BOE and Dr. Lewis' team take the time to study what is going on in this area they will realize that Cross Keys is ideally situated to solve many of Region 1's ills.

If good decisions are made in the next 12 months, CKHS will become a great story for DCSS and a huge asset for the surrounding community for decades to come.

No Duh said...

@Kim: "I take Don at his word"

Wish I could. He and Jim Redovian promised that the Board Policy Committee was "very close" to presenting a policy to the Board regarding Administrative Transfers a year ago!

I guess Military academies, cheating scandals, and anti-bullying propaganda got in the way.

I hope CKHS does get a "Tucker." Even though our kids won't go to Tucker, it's very exciting watching the buildings come up. And all the new drivers at Tucker will get daily experience negotiating tight multi-story parking garages!!

The new THS seems to have ignited the community, too. A new CKHS would do wonders for that area of Brookhaven and you'd think the property values would rise significantly. I can't think of a better reason for the community at large (i.e. the ones without kids in the system) to jump on board this endeavor.

Meanwhile at LHS, Joe Reed has requested the parents come out to two "house cleaning" events. What better way to get parents to put up or shut up? Because the fact is, Mr. Reed could call DCSS maintenance to come clean up the school (I suspect he already has), but he knows and the parents know that DCSS is incapable of doing a decent job of it. (Have you ever see the nasty mops the janitors use day in and day out on the floors? YUCK!)

Reminds me of the story John Tippins once told me. It went something like this. A parent stormed into his office (at Oak Grove) complaining bitterly about the condition of the lunch tables -- that they were sticky and gross. He stood up and said "You're right, come on." He lead her into the cafeteria, got her and himself a wet rag and said enthusiastically, "Let's clean them!!" I smile every time I think of that story!

Ella Smith said...

NO DUH, great story about Mr. Tippins. I am impressed with Joe Redd also. I would go except I am finally going to the beach hopefully until school starts. It has been one of those summers.

I believe Don wants what is best for Cross Keys. I have to believe that. I hope that companies like SEMBLER are not donating to the campaigns of our school board memebers. I should investigate, but currently I just do not have time. (Too much work from going to school)

Kim Gokce said...

In light of the picture of CKHS Gymnasium's wall, I thought the quote of the day today at was rather fun:

"There was so much handwriting on the wall that even the wall fell down." - Christopher Morley

mykidsmom said...
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mykidsmom said...

Just out of my own personal curosity, well, because I live in Dunwoody, I dug up a the founding dates for the high schools in the North. The advent of these schools obviously follows the population trends in North Dekalb at that time. For 40 years or so, Chamblee was the only HS in the northern end of the county - then 4 built in a 13 year span and then no new high schools since - 38 years. Chamblee HS was rebuilt on the same property in the early 1970's and Peachtree MS rebuilt in 2007. So, that leaves Cross Keys, Sequoyah and Dunwoody as those in their original buildings, I believe.

Chamblee HS founded in 1917
Chamblee MS founded in 1977 - new school opened in 2003
Cross Keys HS founded in 1958
Sequoyah HS/MS founded 1964
Peachtree HS/MS founded in 1968
Dunwoody HS founded in 1971

I'd say it was time for a brand new HS in North Dekalb - the Cross Keys property being a prime candidate.

Kim Gokce said...

@mykidsmom: "I'd say it was time for a brand new HS in North Dekalb - the Cross Keys property being a prime candidate."

I think the BOE will actually probably agree with the basic proposition whether it is at Cross Keys HS or elsewhere.

Personally, of course, I think Cross Keys and Woodward properties are ideal - they are enormous, under utilized lots 2 blocks off a vastly under-utilized transportation corridor (Buford Hwy) near the heart of Brookhaven.

There are enormous opportunities for collaborating with public and private groups to make this prominent property a showcase for DeKalb. We need a leader to take this cause up and until one does the community must lead.

Just to prove I'm not a blind advocate for CKHS please note I'm also the person who 300 days ago asked why Dr. Lewis wasn't at the press conference held by CEO Jones, Doraville's Mayor, and General Motors. When there is a plan for the old GM site, it had better include a major investment in public education facilities. That site would be fantastic for magnet programs because of accessibility from all points in DeKalb (except perhaps SW).

Anonymous said...

"I think the BOE will actually probably agree with the basic proposition whether it is at Cross Keys HS or elsewhere."

I disagree. It's pretty clear that the BOE is using their projected decrease in attendance as an excuse not to build a new high school in that area.

Kim Gokce said...

Cheer yourself up and read about the 2009 Cross Keys HS Soccer team. They nearly took State last year and featured some truly amazing skills and character:

Soccer on a Budget - Cross Keys Contenders

We have a bright, bright future with these kids showing us the way ... perhaps we can learn from their example.

Kim Gokce said...

Correction: that was the 2008 team - sorry! Still a must read!

No Duh said...


Lakeside is still in its original building. And, isn't it the poster child of "northside schools" :)

Anonymous said...

If this is The Information Age and if Dekalb Schools are so updated with technology, why is Crawford Lewis using money to bus staff all over the place. Couldn't they use some sort of technology like their TV channel or streaming video along the internet instead of wasting money for Crawford Lewis to feel important. Or couldn't Craword send out an e-mail to everyone with a video attached? The money spent on gas and paying the drivers could help repair the CKHS gym or buy some of those books on Amazon.


Dr. Lewis will be meeting with all teachers by region during pre-planning week. The purpose of the meetings is for Dr. Lewis to share his vision for the district and his plans for the upcoming school year. The meetings will last no more than one hour each.

Transportation will be provided by school bus. We will pick teachers up at the school and transport them to the meeting and then back to the school. Due to the limited availability of parking and the large number of teachers no one will be allowed to drive and we are asking that only teachers and the principal attend the meetings. A pickup schedule will be provided prior to the meeting dates.

The schedule of meetings is as follows ~

Superintendent’s Meeting with Teachers

Region Location Date and time
1 Dunwoody HS Gym Tuesday, Aug 4 8:30 am
2 Lakeside HS Gym Friday, Aug 7 9:00 am
3 and 6 Miller Grove HS Gym Friday, Aug 7 11:00 am
4 and 5 Miller Grove HS Gym Friday, August 7 1:00 pm

Robert G. Moseley
Deputy Chief Superintendent for School Operations
DeKalb School System
3770 North Decatur Road
Building A
Decatur, Georgia 30032
678-676-0193 FAX

Dr. Frankie B. Callaway
Deputy Superintendent
3770 North Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30032
FAX: 678-676-0759

"Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead, and no man yet to be born can do it any better."
-Benjamin E. Mays

mykidsmom said...

I view Lakeside as in a more "central" location, but it could be viewed as a north school.

Cerebration said...

??? That makes Johnny Brown's welcome address at Adams Stadium seem pretty efficient!!

Was that Benjamin E. Mays quote really at the bottom of the email - or did you add that yourself?

Anonymous said...

This probably deserves its own post:

Kim Gokce said...

@Anonymous: "... he money spent on gas and paying the drivers could help repair the CKHS gym or buy some of those books on Amazon."

Too late on the books! :) 106 of 106 books the CKHS English Dept requested have been purchased by the community in 2 and 1/2 weeks. We'll be turning the goods over to Dr. McMillan and the faculty on August 6, 3-5pm, at The Library Coffee Co.

I'll post details after Thrs. Very encouraging result ...

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula Caldarella said...

That's great news Kim!!! Let us know if there are other ways we can help CKHS. I absolutely believe that "to whom much is given much is expected". My kids have, thus far, received a good education. I wish this for all children, especially those in DCSS.

Kim Gokce said...

@DunwoodyMom: "Let us know if there are other ways we can help CKHS."

I am very inspired that many people are asking this same question. With all the requested books ready, I'm getting emails asking what else is needed. There is a reserve of goodwill in the community even in these difficult times ...

Anonymous said...

Hi, im a freshmen student who now goes to Arabia Mountain High and i honestly think it is outrageous on how we can constantly build new schools but we cannot inprove the ones we have. when i had come to sequoyah middle [CKHS middle school]i had simply fell in love with the diversity,culture, and learning process of the school and wanted more of it. Thye have excellent spirit and have the chance like anyone else to learn in a good environment,so why cant they get an upgrade.I cant even ask my mom to go to the school without her laughing asking why do u want to go to that dump.I simply say because of the people, but not everyone sees that.What the people see is what the people think of the school, and its a bad thought from what i hear.I dont think they are a lost cause so why does the DCSS think so ?