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DHCA Endorses Resolution in Support of Fernbank School Green Campus Proposal

Given the information and plans currently available to the DHCA Board at this time, and with primary consideration to:

  1) Providing an adequate expanse of outdoor play area and safety for Fernbank students

  2) Minimizing the severe destruction of mature forest that enhances the school grounds and neighborhood

  3) Reducing extreme earth movements that entail delay and unnecessary costs

The DHCA hereby endorses the Fernbank School Green Campus Proposal as an alternative to the current DeKalb County School System plan. The Green Campus Proposal is consistent with DHCA’s mission to “preserve the Druid Hills neighborhood for residential use and to protect the unique heritage of the area.”

Furthermore, DHCA By-Law Article 1- D and E provide that DHCA will “maintain liaison with governing bodies so as to influence decision making and remain alert to actions that are of concern to the community” and will “oppose intrusions detrimental to the high standards of residential quality so long associated with Druid Hills.”

View the Green Campus Proposal here!

  1. Amy Jolliff #

    This proposal seems like an obvious solution to me. More play space for our children. More green space for our children and neighbors. Less dump trucks (carrying fill dirt) going through our neighborhood. Less disturbance to the current landscape. A SHORTER BUILD TIME, because it doesn’t require as much fill dirt to be brought in. I’m hearing lots of pros and almost no cons. As an IB school, I think it’s important to show our children that we can make a plan that not only fulfills our needs, but also the needs of our community and environment. Thanks to all those involved!

  2. Clark Simmons #

    A suburban school plan in Fernbank is crazy! Who came up with this idea for our kids, Cobb County? Oh, maybe they can also put the Braves new stadium at the Science Center! For real? No, get real!

  3. Larry Owens #

    SInce its inception, Fernbank has been recognized as a a unique place. In1935, Emily Harrison, a teacher, led a group of conservation-minded citizens to preserve the forest she inherited from her father as a “school in the woods” for future generations. She grew up exploring among the area’s abundant nature in the late 1800s, and named the area “Fernbank” for the many species of ferns that grew along creek banks. Now DeKalb County SPLOST folks want to remove much of the forest, force a one-size-fits-all building on this valuable habitat, and leave 900+children with less space for outdoor play and exploration than what is required for a state prison yard. Surely, our children deserve better than this.

    • Gene Barger #

      In reference to Larry’s comment about Emily Harrison, perhaps we should all try to take the long view and focus not only on our more immediate needs but also on the needs of the generations of students that will be coming to our new Fernbank School over the next fifty years. Don’t we want all of them to feel safe and not have to worry about tumbling off a 20 ft, retaining wall and risking a fatal injury? Don’t we want them to have adequate play space and feel surrounded by a wonderful old growth forest.

      Speak up and be an advocate for doing the right thing. So don’t buy into the bluff that the County will delay the work because you have spoken your mind. Their strategy has been to leverage the parents’ frustrations with all the delays (all of which have been caused by the County themselves) and misdirect those frustrations toward a group who is advocating twice the play space, much lower/safer retaining walls, and saving more of the old growth trees. It’s your classic “divide and conquer” strategy and it thrives in the absence of accurate information and when people become fearful of challenging the very public servants they are paying to serve them.

      If we can join hands together and become united, this team of stakeholders will get a safer school, a much better playground space, and a school built more quickly. Let’s all put on the same jersey and show the County and The DeKalb School District that we can stand together and get the same types of considerations and modifications that were afforded to Peachcrest, Gresham, and Smokerise, The next 5 generations of students will be forever grateful for your sacrifice, your courage and your effort.

  4. Eric Mintz #

    I am a true believer in the Fernbank Elementary School and the Fernbank Forest. Along with the Fernbank Science Center and Fernbank Museum, they have always been “the heart of Druid Hills” for our family. I know they hold a special place in the lives of many members of the Druid Hills community, of all ages and walks of life, and hope that people will come out and support their preservation for the Druid Hills children of today and of the future. In reality, these facilities are a resource for all of Dekalb County, for the greater Atlanta area, and for visitors from all over the world. We are fortunate and priviliged to host these unique institutions and natural resources in our neighborhood, and we have a special responsibility to serve as good stewards for those who currently enjoy them, and those who will enjoy them in the future. To allow them to be destroyed or diminished, is to destroy and diminish our own community, and the very special gifts that we have the honor of being able to offer to the rest of the world. Come out and support the Greenspace initiative for the children of Fernbank Elementary school and for all of us.

    • Gene Barger #

      On these large school construction projects, the County/DeKalb County School District is required to engage the community, as a primary stakeholder, in a collaborative dialogue. They’ve had since September to do so and have been clearly derelict in meeting that requirement. I totally understand how the parents are frustrated with having to take their kids over to Avondale and feel as if their sense of community has been fragmented. Everyone wants that school built as soon as possible so keep in mind that it’s the County/DCSD that is responsible for holding things up, not the Green Campus plan.

      • The doors open at 6:00pm on Tues, Jan 28. Please try to arrive early in order to be able to review the current DeKalb County plans.

  5. claudiajkeenan #

    This is not a “Fernbank issue” — it is a Druid Hills issue. It involves the landscape and streetscape of our neighborhood in addition to students’ welfare and other serious issues referred to above and in previous posts.

    • Gene Barger #

      I understand that a lot of you parents want a new school asap and believe that any debate will slow down the progress of getting what you want. The Green Campus plan is not an impediment. If you look at how the county/school system operates, they create their own impediments. It took them 7 months to find a demolition contractor who was supposed to start asbestos abatement the first week of this month and as far as i can tell, nothing has happened. Join us in our effort to make the new Fernbank a much better school. Just imagine your child with 899 other kids sharing only 3/4 acres of playground space adjacent to 1/4 acres of an above ground detention pond with a 6 ft fence around it. Not much space to kick a soccer ball or to throw a Frisbee. What happens when the ball or Frisbee lands in the pond? (which it will) Wouldn’t it be much better to have 2 whole acres of playground space surrounded by more of the beautiful old growth forest?

  6. Thank you for this alert. Fernbank School is one of the most important institutions in Druid Hills. It is critical to get this rebuilding of the school facility and campus right, for the current students and for the children of the neighborhood for decades to come. We need as much parent and neighbor dialogue on this issue, and consideration of the consequences of the different plans that have been offered, as possible.

  7. Gene Barger #

    Given what you already know about the competence of our county officials, go ahead and stay home Tuesday night and pretend that you can trust your county/school system to make the right decisions affecting the fate of Fernbank School and the Druid Hills community. Once the old growth trees are logged, they’re never coming back. Those dangerous retaining walls and the diminished playground space that’s comparable to a prison exercise yard will be there for a very long, long time. You have the choice to be a pretender or someone who is willing to make a stand. Why not step up and come down on the right side of history?

  8. Gene Barger #

    Please make every effort possible to attend the Fernbank School Council and PTA meeting scheduled for Jan 28th at 7pm at the current site of Fernbank Elementary School (3131 Old Rockbridge Rd, Avondale Estates). While not all battles may be worth your time and effort, this one clearly calls you stand up against a bureaucratic “cram-down” that will have negative repercussions for decades.


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