It’s no secret that City Schools of Decatur is in a race to keep up with its ever growing enrollment. As of the first day of school, enrollment is already at 98% of the aggressive projection.
It’s also pretty well-known at this point that CSD is under contract for a piece of property near East Decatur Station to potentially build a new, lower grade school. They’ve been floating the idea of a combined K-3 and 4/5 Academy to accommodate that growth.
But while Decatur High and Renfroe Middle schools are already undergoing large expansions, there still isn’t enough K-3 space. And after reopening Westchester Elementary last year as a K-3, CSD is now turning its sights on the one remaining historic elementary school in the city limits for a potential return to its original use.
As the Superintendent notes in her letter to the School Board for their August meeting, College Heights was previously an elementary school and its location between two “very busy and high enrollment schools”, Oakhurst and Winnona Park, make it an obvious candidate for conversion to a K-3.
So, if the School Board decides to turn College Heights back to a K-3 and also maintain the Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, they will have to find a new location for the ECLC.
On the agenda for the August 11th School Board meeting is an item to draw up architectural drawings to include the Center at Columbia Ventures’ mixed-use Avondale MARTA Station redevelopment. As the Superintendent notes, plans must be drawn up now so that “CSD’s project to be included in Columbia Ventures financing application, it must have design development architectural drawings produced for inclusion in the financing package.”
Nothing is imminent as the entire process could take 3-4 years, according to Superintendent Edwards, and is complicated by the fact that “The loan to the fund that developed [College Heights] as an ECLC would need to be paid off before it can be repurposed into an elementary school.”
So it sounds like much of this is a ways off, but this is perhaps a hint at just one more moving piece in the marathon race to keep up with rising enrollment. The Superintendent says that there will be Listening Session on the potential of a new ECLC in the near future, so keep an eye out for that in the coming months.