Dunwoody High’s crowded campus took yet another hit at last week’s school council meeting when Dan Drake announced 12 new trailer classrooms are headed to the campus.
Drake, the executive director of dperations for DeKalb Schools, said the first four portable classrooms, assembled as a single ‘quad portable’ would arrive soon (prior to that start of school in August) and will be placed across the driveway from the existing quad unit along Vermack Road.
In upcoming years, Drake said the community will see eight more classrooms (two quads), also placed on the side of Vermack, forming a row of trailers down to Womack Road, totaling 20 trailer classrooms.
The new quad units have a cost of approximately $350,000 each according to Drake. Sewer, water, and electric infrastructure for the twelve portable classrooms is slated to begin this spring. Parents at the meeting held Thursday in the DHS school library pleaded with county officials to at least wait until school ends before starting the project.
“Our kids will be in the existing trailers, taking finals. We can’t have distractions out there,” one parent exclaimed. School officials agreed that work outside would be limited during instruction time. Another parent expressed his displeasure of the removal of all the trees along Vermack.
“Those are mainly just pine trees,” commented Drake. When pressed about funding in place to replant the trees along Vermack if the 20 portable classrooms are removed, Drake said no funds were set aside for this purpose and suggested that area would most likely be converted to a parking lot. Drake also said covering the retention pond now, to alleviate parking woes, was not an option now but would occur in year 2022, in conjunction with the school addition project.
The Dunwoody High School construction project, slated to take place over two years, commencing October 2020, adds 26 new classrooms but does not include needed improvements to many core areas including locker rooms or the gymnasium.
Dunwoody High currently has 1982 students, and projected enrollment for next fall is 2042 students, exceeding the district’s projections and nearly meeting the year 2022 estimate of 2093 students. Some parents have speculated that the trailer park along Vermack, once in place, won’t be removed in 2022 due to the increased numbers. Drake said the district is working on new projections and expects to release those figures soon.
In a related matter, it was also announced that Peachtree Charter Middle School will receive an additional three trailers this summer. “We were told the current 8th grade class at PCMS is the largest, the peak. So why are there more trailers going there?” asked a parent. No answer was given.
According to Dunwoody Principal Priscilla Cole, 13 teachers currently share classrooms, creating a less than ideal situation for these instructors. Security and sanitary conditions regarding the trailers was also discussed at the meeting. Two parents mentioned that ants were present in the existing trailer quad. Cole said a pest control service would soon take care of that issue.