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Posted by on March 10, 2011.

Construction of new Chamblee High to begin in June

DeKalb County school officials are in the process of selecting a contractor to build a new 275,000 square-foot building to replace an aging Chamblee High School.

The $52 million construction project is planned to begin in June 2011 and be completed by May 2013, according to school district bid documents.

School district officials confirmed that the pre-bidders conference was under way March 9, but school district spokesman Jeff Dickerson said he did not know any of the specifics of the high school rebuilding project.

“The district had no details when the school is going to be built,” Dickerson said.

The project is something that students and parents in the district have anticipated because of overcrowded conditions and mold and rat infestations in the current facility located at 3688 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

A federal bond program was tapped by the Board of Education in the fall. The program will allow the district to sell up to $58 million in bonds to completely rebuild the campus.

School officials at the aging Chamblee campus have deferred repairs and banked more than $11 million in for an ongoing local-option sales tax that can be used for the school’s reconstruction.

The work outlined in the bid documents show that the new facility will be a phased construction of an 84-classroom school. Students will remain in the current facility until the new one is completed, according to the documents.

The new site will accommodate parking for 620 and the sports fields will be completely redone. A new softball field will be built.

The bid documents show that the school district will work with the selected building contractors to come up with a detailed schedule for rebuilding the school.

The main reason for the accelerated timeline – less than two years – is the district’s use of the federal bond program requires that a new school be completed quickly if federal financing is used.

Marcus Turk, the district’s chief financial officer, has said the bonds will be low-interest or no-interest based on when the bonds are sold and the financial health of the school district.

Chamblee Charter High School is one of the best performing high schools in the DeKalb County School system but the facilities are outdated, district officials said.

The school, which is known for its high achiever magnet program is in demand and over capacity.

At the beginning of the school year, hundreds of students that were scheduled to attend poorly performing schools requested a transfer to Chamblee High School. The school – which was already at capacity – has added an annex in Stone Mountain 17 miles away.

 

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