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Public Tours Offered At The Future Museum School Building

The charter school will occupy the old Forrest Hills Elementary starting next August.

The public is invited to tour the future home of .

The Museum School, a charter school now operating out of modular classrooms, will move this summer to the old at 923 Forrest Blvd.

That school, located just outside the Avondale Estates city limits, has been closed for several years.

Anybody interested in a tour should contact Tami Willadsen at Tami.Willadsen@themuseumschool.org or Matt Knoop at Matt.Knoop@themuseumschool.org.

Adults coming on the tour are advised not to bring their children for liability purposes.

Sasha Webb, chairman of the board of directors for the Museum School, took Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Rieker and this reporter on a quick tour of the building Friday morning.

In some ways, it's like students just left. A bulletin board urging students to "Think Green" greets visitors in the front hallway. An American flag stands on the stage in the auditorium/cafeteria. The power has never been turned off and security cameras still operate.

But the rooms are empty of furniture and some ceiling panels are missing. "It's a time machine," Rieker said.

Webb said the move will mean a big upgrade for the Museum School. For instance, the school now has about 14,00 square feet.

At the new building, there wil be about 86,000 square feet on 11 acres with a full playground and a gymnasium.

and has signed a 10-year lease with the the DeKalb Board of Education, with options for two five-year renewals.

The museum school doesn't have to pay rent, but does have to pay utilities. Most importantly, the charter school has to pay for renovations.

To that end, the Museum School has taken on a five-year, $3 million campaign.

The first phase will be for about $1 million and will make the newest section of the school, built in the 1990s, usable for the upcoming school year.

Webb said the biggest expense is the heating and air-conditioning system.

The other phases will make it possible to use a second section built in the 1970s and the original building, built in 1954.

Webb said the growth plan calls for Museum School to become a K-8 school. The school started two years ago with 140 students.

It now has about 200 students as a K-4 school and will have about 265 next year as a K-5 school.

"By year five we'll have 516 students," she said.

For more information, visit the Museum School website.

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