Druid Hills High School to get renovations students called for

Board approves $50 million modernization plan
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 4:11 PM EDT|Updated: May. 31, 2022 at 11:15 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - After months of public outcry driven by students, DeKalb education officials approved Druid Hills High School for major renovations.

“I’m happy. I went here. My kids went here. My daughter is set to go here. My mother-in-law, her sibling’s all went here. So there’s a long history. And when I went here, the school did not look like that. It was sad to see the state that it was in. So, I’m really glad that they’re going to be doing something about it,” said Caroline Avery, outside Druid Hills High School.

On Tuesday, the DeKalb County Board of Education approved the high school to be part of a $50 million modernization plan.

This after the Board repeatedly voted to leave Druid Hills High School off a district-wide priority list for major renovations.

In April, Druid Hills High School students released a video that showed the conditions inside the school. They claimed they have constant leaks, raw sewage pooling, exposed wires, and rampant mold.

On Tuesday, officials said facility crews have already completed 58% of fixes outlined in walk-through made in the Spring.

Many of these fixes addresses issues students highlighted in their video.

The Board said they hope to finish the remaining 42% of issues by the start of the school year in August.

Officials said separate from these fixes, major modernization will begin in September 2022. They will need to undergo a procurement process to hire a designer for the multi-million dollar renovations.

On Tuesday, the Board voted unanimous in their decision to modernize Druid Hills High School.

This vote has implications beyond Druid Hills.

The state had threatened to pull state reimbursement funding for renovation projects across the school district if Druid Hills High School was not added back to the priority list by June 1.

With a day to spare, the board voted to returned DHHS to that priority list.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said this move will once again allow the district to receive state reimbursement funding.

“We consider the resolution passed by the DeKalb board part of a good-faith effort to address the issues identified in the corrective action plan,” said Meghan Frick, spokesperson for the Department of Education.

“Superintendent Woods does plan to recommend their local facility plan for board approval, with continued access to capital outlay funds conditional to the full follow-through by DeKalb on the corrective action plan, including the modernization of Druid Hills High,” Frick continued.

Earlier in May, the state hired Dr. Tanzy Kilcrease as a special advisor to help DeKalb County School “to work on solving systemic operations issues throughout the district,” according to Frick.

On Tuesday, the Board said they will provide weekly updates to Dr. Kilcrease on the progress of their renovation plans.

The Board said they will have their next update surrounding the district’s renovations at a public meeting on June 6.