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Big Plans: Rebuild Renfroe Middle, Renovate Decatur High

The Decatur School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and will vote on a plan to rebuild Renfroe Middle and renovate and enlarge Decatur High. If approved, a Nov. 5 bond referendum would be held.

The Decatur School Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a plan to build a brand-new Renfroe Middle School and massively renovate Decatur High.

The board will consider three options, with the one favored by the administration costing about $58 million in general obligation bonds.

If the board approves any of the options, a bond referendum would be held Nov. 5, 2013, according to a Power Point presentation posted on the school website.

The construction and renovation would allow the school system to better handle the student enrollment boom that started in the lower grades.

In 2018, Decatur High's enrollment is expected to hit 1,891 (it's now about 925) and Renfroe 1,666 (783), according to plans on the school system website.

If the board votes yes, it will still have to hold community input meetings and meet with the city commission to request approval of the bonds.

Option 3, favored by the administration, would make these changes:

Renfroe Middle School

  • Demolish the existing facility after construction of a new one.
  • Expand existing gym for physical education classes.
  • Rework existing parking and entrances on West College Avenue.
  • Reduce existing recreational fields by half. (That space would be returned after demolition of the current building.)
  • Add 54 instructional units, up from 48 now.

Decatur High School

  • Repurpose the career academy and main building, including the "spaceship" entrance.
  • Renovate the kitchen, cafeteria and second-floor administrative offices.
  • Move a classroom addition to the commons building.
  • Add an auxiliary gym for physical education classes.
  • Build a new connection between the main building and the performing arts center and existing gym.
  • Move drop-off to Commerce Street.
  • Add 44 instructional units, up from 54 now.

The school board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Westchester Center on Scott Boulevard.

School board meetings normally are held the second Tuesday of the month but this one was rescheduled because of spring break, which starts April 8.

To see a full agenda, go to the school system website.

Jennifer April 07, 2013 at 09:23 PM
It does seem that holding the meeting during Spring break when many people are out of town is very unfortunate and not conducive to providing information to the most people.
Decaturette April 07, 2013 at 10:13 PM
The meeting was moved up, ahead of spring break, right? And the topic was postponed.
Ralph Ellis April 08, 2013 at 03:56 AM
The school board tabled the vote last week. The community meeting will be held after spring break.
Glenn Carroll May 11, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Your vision would fit even better on the DeVry property. Just imagine! for $17.5 million you get an existing, modern school building at 110,000 square feet and tons of parking used by the former adult school population! Then, imagine this, down the road, the city sells the neighborhood block where Renfroe is, where 60 houses once stood, and a developer turns THAT prime property into homes. Fronting College Avenue on the south side of the tracks to continue the line of some of the most handsome classic homes in the city. Wow! And over at DeVry we could have a forest for our children to develop environmental science, bird watch, there's a large stream running alongside, community gardening, build bike and walking paths and proximity to MARTA could raise our children on a secluded forested campus with a connection to air-saving public transportation. OMG, could we follow Dublin's example and put in solar with the flat roofs of the school system? I mean, there's talk of Decatur returning to its former glory as an electric municipal corporation. Man, we should get all these visions TOGETHER!
Glenn Carroll May 11, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I spoke with a friend who has a child at Renfroe. She receives the monthly e-blasts and researched them for me. The first mention of the so-called master plan was April 10, more than a week after the off-schedule meeting where it had originally been planned to be put to a vote. Thank goodness for Decatur Patch which alerted us!! So, hey, the school board is doing a good job of catch-up on its original faux pas (see the story and poll at http://decatur.patch.com/articles/should-decatur-schools-move-ahead-with-master-plan) and whoever said we should be attending all the meetings is right, of course. Over in MAK neighborhood we poured it on chasing for public input on the big new gym stuck up on the street and it the results were totally unsatisfactory or maybe the word is "nil." We got a basketball hoop by the dumpsters where cars usually are parked anyway. In the course of the planning commission meetings, city commission meetings, town hall meetings, school board meetings there was a fellow name of Paul Jones that attended everything. A true Hometown Hero. When he got up to speak the contemptuous disrespect of our civic leaders towards him was palpable. We used to have an awesome local rag run by Julia Glenn Carter and delivered to our door every Wednesday with all the political do in Decatur. Creative Loafing bought her out and then killed it. (It's more complicated than that, don't blame Creative Loafing.) Now we have Decatur Patch :)

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