Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dunwoody High School Renovation

I was at the meeting last night concerning the upcoming multi-million dollar renovation for Dunwoody High School (there were about 100 parents and concerned neighbors in attendance). As a member of the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, I can tell you there was a lot of concern when the original design for the renovation was presented in October by the architecture firm of Perkins & Will. While some board members liked the renderings, others felt strongly that it did not match the colonial look of our Dunwoody neighborhoods.

Below is a rendering that was presented last night, and while Claire Botsch of the Dunwoody High School Community Design Committee says it is the same design that was presented in October, this picture makes the renovation appear much more palatable. The DHA will meet to discuss the renovation, but personally I don't have any major issues with it, as presented last night. Here's what I do have a problem with - the DeKalb County School System not getting the DHA involved from the start (or involved at all)! Some folks seem to believe the DHA is heavy-handed, but it is not. It is simply looking out for what it believes to be what is best for the community (the diverse DHA board is made up of 35 members who live in various parts of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, representing different factions of the community). You see what happened when the DCSS allowed the DHA to be active in the construction of Peachtree Charter Middle School - the beautiful, timeless structure speaks for itself. Conversely, in Dunwoody Elementary School - you see what happens when DCSS doesn't allow the DHA to be a part of the process. Everyone loves having their children in the new, state of the art building, but the design will be dated in a decade, and who, in their right mind, got the brilliant idea to put stack stone columns in the gymnasium (it is a major safety hazard to the children, and the columns are now covered by mats)! The DHA is not looking to control the process, but to help DCSS better understand what the community wants.
Concerned Parents

While the DHA focuses on the exterior design, concerned parents are zeroing-in on the interior and just what the renovation will or won't offer their children. To the right is a list of items that has parents concerned (click on the photo to enlarge). Also of concern is the fact that if the project comes in under budget, the money left on the table will no be used to upgrade other areas of Dunwoody High School, but instead will be thrown back into a DCSS general fund, which seems to violate the spirit of SPLOST (special purpose local-option sales tax), which we as taxpayers funded!



7 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Bob, what is the status on the new marquis in front of Peachtree Middle School? 2 years ago we were told the design was in front of the DHA. The current one is totally on its last legs and, quite frankly, is an eye-sore.

Dunwoody Mom said...

And yes, Bob, while I agree, for the most part, the DHA will assist (we won't discuss the car wash incident), as was done at PCMS, the tone of the comments in The Crier from certain DHA members lent itself to arrogance that "how dare they leave out the DHA".

Bob Fiscella said...

Dunwoody Mom,
I will check into the marquee and see what I can find out.

As for the DHA, until I joined the board last year, I agreed with you. I thought, many times, its tone came over as arrogant. But now that I've gotten to know a few members, and realize the voluntary time and effort they put into, my perspective has changed. You should come to a meeting.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I can't believe I misspelled "marquee". How embarassing. Maybe I was thinking of Jason Marquis the former Braves pitcher. :)

Anyway, thanks for checking on the marquee. Also, I have to say that many times I have seriously thought about joining the DHA, but each time the incident with regards to the car wash holds me back. I think I will take up your offer and come to a meeting. I am assuming I can find the meeting schedule on the website.

Bob Fiscella said...

Dunwoody Mom - on March 7th at 2pm at Dunwoody United Methodist we will be holding our "open house' meeting. This would be a great meeting to come to!

Dunwoody Mom said...

Bob, it's on my calendar - I look forward to it.

Bob Fiscella said...

Dunwoody Mom - fantastic. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to meet you!