City Schools of Decatur releases updated presentation on school construction

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 31, 2015
City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices. Photo by Dena Mellick

City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices. Photo by Dena Mellick

City Schools of Decatur has released an updated presentation on how it plans to spend $75 million designated for school construction projects.

Voters are being asked to approve the $75 million bond issue on Nov. 3. Residents would also be raising their own taxes by as much as 8 percent.

The school system intends to use the money to renovate Decatur High and Renfroe Middle. It also plans to add portables and build a new elementary school.

The differences between the two documents are most apparent in the sections concerning Decatur High and Renfroe Middle. The new presentation shows fewer parking spaces than initially planned for the high school, and the “full renovation” for the main building listed in the first document has been revised to say “limited renovation.”

The initial presentation for Renfroe said crews would demolish 25,000 square feet of the existing building. That’s been reduced to 11,000 square feet. The first presentation also said there would be 34 new general classrooms. The updated presentation says there will be 10.

Decaturish has read through each proposal and highlighted the major changes in the wording.


First presentation: “Full Renovation of existing Main Building”

Updated presentation: “Limited Renovation of existing Main Building”

First presentation: “Development of a new Visitor Drop off / Parking – N. McDonough St.”

Updated presentation: DELETED

First presentation: “Development of approximately 140 new Parking Spaces”

Updated presentation: “Development of approximately 134 new Parking Spaces”

First presentation: “Development of a new Internal Courtyard / Program Space”

Updated presentation: DELETED


First presentation: “Demolition of approximately 25,000 Square Feet of existing facility”

Updated presentation: “Demolition of approximately 11,000 Square Feet of existing facility”

First presentation: “Limited Renovation of existing Main Building where New Addition connects”

Updated presentation: DELETED

First presentation: “Development of approximately 40 new Parking Spaces”

Updated presentation: “Development of approximately 55 new Parking Spaces”

First presentation: “Development of Three Physical Education Classrooms”

Updated presentation: DELETED

First presentation: “Development of Five New Science Lab/Classrooms”

Updated presentation: “Development of Four New Science Lab/Classrooms”

First presentation: “Development of approximately 34 New General Classrooms”

Updated presentation: “Development of approximately 10 New General Classrooms”

Here is the original presentation:

CSD $75 Million Bond

Here is the updated presentation:

CSD $75 Million Bond Package Final Presentation 08.28.2015 (2)

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  • King Tommen

    So at Renfroe, they’ve changed the project scope from 5 science labs and 34 new classrooms . . . to 4 science labs and 10 new classrooms. The budget and anticipated capacity numbers are unchanged. How does cutting the amount of instructional space by two thirds not impact building capacity or cost? If that was an error/omission in the original report, it’s the kind of glaring mistake or oversight that gives people pause to fork over $75M. It seems like the people in charge don’t even fully understand the scale and scope if what they’d like to do with the money.

    • Jeff G

      Since they’re now planning to demolish only 11,000 rather than 25,000 square feet of current facility, they obviously don’t need to build the 34 new classrooms–10 will suffice. Both plans create the same student capacity–1,613 students.
      By the way, both the RMS and DHS projects are multi-phase projects. The GO Bond is proposed to pay for phase 2. SPLOST or some other funding source will be needed to complete the later phases. The projected growth is immense, and it’s not possible to expand everything at once. Assuming that they don’t “understand the scale and scope” of the project because they’ve changed some details is certainly jumping to an unfounded conclusion.

      • King Tommen

        So it shouldn’t be of any concern that budget hasn’t moved an inch but the scope of work has changed dramatically? If less is being demolished and rebuilt, why hasn’t projected cost changed? Are we just building fancier offices in the style of the municipal building instead? Of that the consultant paid handsomely to publish enrollment estimates also had to walk back their numbers a couple times due to errors?

        • Jeff G

          I didn’t say there’s no cause for concern. (Nor am I claiming there IS cause for concern.) I said there’s no basis for assuming they don’t understand the scope and scale of the project. The scope and scale of both projects (DHS and RMS) is far bigger than what’s presented in these proposals, because these are just for phase 2 of a 3 or 4 phase plan. And $75 million doesn’t even cover all of the original phase 2 plan, but it’s the largest amount the board thought it could get passed. So what’s happening now is some revisions to the estimate of what can be accomplished with the $75M. Projected costs change often in big projects, (private or public) but if there’s a cap on the spending ($75M) then the scope of work estimates are what have to be revised to keep it within the cap.

  • Jeff G

    One detail which you failed to mention is that the updated DHS plan includes three additional classrooms. (11 in the first plan and 14 in the second.)
    I don’t know what happened to the courtyard space, but I do know that many teachers questioned the need or usefulness of this.
    The visitor dropoff on N. McDonough is likely a victim of City of Decatur streetscape improvement plans for that street.

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