A rendering shows the final design for the new Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, which includes a new auditorium, gymnasium, media center and cafeteria. (CGLS Architects/Fulton County School District)

The Fulton County Board of Education is set to vote on designs for the next phases of Riverwood International Charter School construction among concerns about changing the driveway at Heards Ferry.

The $80 million project would build an entirely new school, including a new auditorium, gymnasium, media center, cafeteria and classrooms. The first two floors of a new classroom building and the new baseball field have already been completed. Meanwhile, the school district is set to present the renovation plan for North Springs High at a Jan. 23 meeting amidst advocacy for an entirely new school, fueled in part by the new Riverwood campus.

The board heard details on the next phases at its Jan. 9 work session ahead of its regular board meeting set for Jan. 18.

The concept designs for the entire Sandy Springs school and the site plan have not changed significantly since originally presented in 2015, Robert Sussenbach, the architect working on the designs said at the work session, which was broadcast on the board’s website.

“This is pretty much what we showed you several years ago, and we’re trying to stay consistent with that,” Sussenbach said.

The final site plan for the new Riverwood Internationl Charter School. (CGLS Architects/Fulton County School District)

Officials won’t be able to say whether or not the project is set to stay on budget until the board meeting, as final costs are still being determined, Patrick Burke, the chief operating officer of the Fulton County School District said during the work session.

Some board members, including Katie Reeves, who represents District 2, brought up concerns about limiting the use of the driveway at Heards Ferry, which used to be heavily used but is now restricted to construction traffic and as a right-turn-only entrance. The main entrances are now located at Raider Drive. Reeves argued its safer to have multiple entrances and exits and questioned why one would be removed.

Burke said the city of Sandy Springs has safety concerns about the driveway because of the curves on Heards Ferry and prohibited the driveway from continuing to be used as a full access entrance and exit.

Construction of the school, located at 5900 Raider Dr., is split into seven phases. The first phase is the only phase that has so far been completed, which included the first two floors of a new building and a baseball field.

The third floor of that building will be completed in the second phase, which is scheduled to begin next month and end in June. The contract for finishing the interior of the third floor is also set to be voted on at the board meeting. The construction is estimated to cost $2.8 million, according to the work session agenda.

A new cafeteria and media center will also be built during phase two. Other phases will include the addition of a new gymnasium, an auditorium and expanded parking from 450 spaces to around 650. All construction is planned to conclude in January 2022, according to documents.

The new school facilities are being built on the existing school grounds without shutting down any current classrooms or programs. Once the new facilities are built, the old ones will be demolished.

The board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 18. It will be held at Asa G. Hilliard Elementary School, which is located at 3353 Mount Olive Road.

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