DeKalb Board of Education approves modernization of Druid Hills High School

After a months-long campaign by students which included viral video footage and at the behest of the Georgia Department of Education, the DeKalb County Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously to approve a resolution to modernize Druid Hills High School.

The vote came at a May 31 meeting where Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley gave a presentation on key modernization components, repair needs, a timeline and an update on work that has been done at the school to address a corrective action plan issued by Georgia Department of Education.

“I am pleased to share that to date, 62 of 106 items on the Georgia Department of Education’s corrective action plan have been addressed with work continuing,” said Tinsley. “Some of these items include addressing the sewage line in the courtyard, restroom repairs, painting and replacement of ceiling tiles, just to name a few of the improvements. There are items that remain to be addressed and we will work on those things now that school is out for the summer. We will keep a close eye on this work as it is our goal to have many of remaining items completed prior to the beginning of the next school year in August. This is not something that happened overnight and it will not be totally rectified overnight.”

Currently, the cost to modernize Druid Hills High School is estimated at $50 million, stated officials.

“Without a doubt, the conditions at Druid Hills High School illustrate the poor conditions in several of our facilities,” said Tinsley. “Many of these issues are not new and highlight systemic, operational shortcomings that have persisted for far too long.”

According to a press release from the DeKalb County School District (DCSD), DCSD personnel will begin the process of procuring and awarding design services for complete modernization of the school by this fall.

“The actual design phase of the project is expected to take approximately a year, with construction anticipated to commence in Spring 2024,” stated officials. “The construction phase will take one to two years to complete the entire project. The school will remain open throughout the modernization efforts.”

“Modernizing a school building means that the facility is brought up to the current standards for structure and environment,” the press release stated. “In this instance, the project will include significant renovations to make the existing facility like new. These enhancements include state-of-the-art technology, upgraded plumbing, improved heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems, advanced safety systems, a new roof, electrical upgrades, modern lighting conversions, superior acoustic designs, and more.”

The BOE voted in favor of the modernization of Druid Hills High School the day before Tanzy Kilcrease, a special appointed advisor hired by the Georgia Department of Education, was scheduled to begin working with DeKalb County School District to on “issues identified in the corrective action plan and on solving systemic operations issues throughout the DeKalb County School District,” according to officials.

“I have spoken to Dr. Kilcrease and look forward to a cooperative partnership,” Tinsley said. “My expectation is that by working together, families and staff will see improvements at DCSD facilities on the first day of school on August 8.”

Initially built in 1927, Druid Hills High School serves more than 1,300 students in grades 9 through 12.

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