Multi-million dollar CSD office project passes major hurdles

Posted by October 9, 2013

A new $5.9 million office and community building cleared all major construction hurdles and will be ready for its slated May 2014 opening, architects assured school board members at Tuesday’s public meeting.

Community members listen to a presentation at Tuesday night's City Schools of Decatur board meeting. About 30 people attended the meeting.

Community members listen to a presentation at Tuesday night’s City Schools of Decatur board meeting. About 30 people attended the meeting.

Despite an accelerated schedule, lead architect Andrew Rutledge assured officials the Beacon Municipal Center will open by May 1, giving City Schools of Decatur time to move out of their Westchester Elementary offices in plenty of time to reopen the school for the 2014-2015 school year.

“Basically we’ve taken care of most of the things that could just jump out at us at,” Rutledge said. “At this point it’s only going to be minute things that could occur.”

Flooding is one of Rutledge’s top concerns for the site. The buildings have regularly flooded since they opened in the 1950s, but developers took several steps to avoid any future water damage. Ebster Field sits adjacent to the property and will be dug up to install a one million cubic-foot concrete water detention system. After construction the field will be restored.

Most board members took turns praising Rutledge and several others in attendance who had hands in the project for being accommodating of the unusually fast construction schedule, preserving elements of the new site’s historic use as a black school during segregation and paying close attention to environmental concerns. The project is planned to receive silver LEED certification at an added cost of 1 to 2.5 percent — a difference developers expect will quickly be recovered through increased energy efficiency.

Board members also discussed increased security measures around high school football games following several gametime thefts in September. The school instituted bag checks and will be putting up additional lighting for future games.

“We moved very quickly to do what we could to make our students even safer,” said CSD Superintendent Phyllis Edwards. “I don’t think there’s any measure that we can undertake that’s too difficult or too costly to keep our kids safe.”


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