Published on June 22nd, 2015 |2
Atlanta International School buys properties, plans campus changes
AIS Headmaster Kevin Glass held a second information meeting for Garden Hills residents June 17 at the school’s Early Learning Center on Peachtree Avenue and will be meeting with the board of the Garden Hills Civic Association Tuesday night to further review the plans.
Glass explained that a major focus of the new plan is to reduce traffic impact from the school on the surrounding Garden Hills neighborhood, while at the same time providing space on the main campus to improve sports facilities and provide space for new education facilities.
Glass said a gift from a family that had children who went all through AIS allowed the school to purchase the three small apartment buildings and abandoned house, which flank the school’s Early Learning Center at 26, 28, 30 and 40 Peachtree Avenue, for around $3.5 million.
The plans call for tearing down those four properties and using those sites to provide parking lots for the school’s use, moving the parking from its present location on the main campus across Peachtree Avenue.
One new lot, on the east side of the Early Learning Center, would primarily be used for that center, including its carpool operations. At Early Learning Center
parking is across Peachtree Avenue on the main campus, requiring students and parents to cross the street.
Once the parking is removed from the main campus, the queueue lines for carpooling student to and from the main campus will be mainly routed on campus, beginning at the back of campus where Delmont Road enters the campus and proceeding toward the front of the property along a route that would parallel Peachtree Avenue and wound exit onto Peachtree Avenue.
The only carpool lane that will remain on a city street will be for vehicles dropping off and picking up students in K through second grades. That carpool queue will remain on North Fulton Avenue and will enter the parking lot at the front of the main building and exit eastbound on Delmont.
Relocating the parking off the main campus will also open up green space by 32 percent, it allows the school to add 8 lanes of running track to its main field and a new soccer field and the new carpool lane on campus helps create another main entrance to campus for grades 6-12.
Additional aspects of the plan include relocating the primary school playground from the front of the school to behind it near the other fields and replacing it with a new three-story primary school wing.
The library building will be enlarged and improved and a new Co-Lab building will be added on Peachtree Avenue side of the campus and join a plaza with the present science building. That will create the new entrance to the main campus for grades 6-12.
One aspect of the AIS plans that is of specific interest to the GHCA board is a request to increase the school’s total student population by 186, from 1,164 at present to 1,350. Glass said likely only 10-20 of those new enrollments would be seniors who would drive cars to school.
The student enrollment was capped years ago by an agreement between AIS and GHCA. It will require a vote by the GHCA board to allow the
Incidentally, AIS has a 50-year least on the old North Fulton High building, which runs out in 2051. But they also have first right of refusal to extend the lease with Atlanta Public Schools.
An interesting point that was made by a person attending the June 17 meeting was that the former North Fulton High School had student body of 1,500 when he attended that school, 150 students more than what AIS is asking to increase its enrollment to.
Glass was asked what the timeline was for the implementation of all aspects of these plans. He said he hoped the parking could be moved, the new carpooling queue lanes implemented and improvements to the fields completed in 18 months.
The three apartment buildings on Peachtree Avenue have a total of 42 rental apartments and Glass told BuckheadView the school began to let leases lapse when they came up for renewal as soon as the building purchases were closed on May 26.
Glass said the expected time of demolition will depend on two factors: 1) the buildings being vacated, which will take some months for leases to run out, and 2) the city permitting process. “We hope to know more by August as we work through these two items,” he added.
As for the new primary school wing and the new co-lab building, Glass said, the buildings “will be built when we raise the money….hopefully an early
Glass, who lives in Garden Hills with his wife and three children (all the children attend AIS), said he is sensitive to the issues Garden Hills residents have with traffic—the traffic and parking associated with the Garden Hills Pool and the encroachment in the neighborhood of parking for Buckhead Baseball games at Frankie Allen Park.
He offered that the baseball parking problem might be somewhat alleviated by the school allowing the Frankie Allen Park baseball crowd to use the new school parking lots on weekends.
Glass, who has been headmaster at AIS and lived in Garden Hills for six years, apparently has been working on these plans—especially the traffic aspect caused by carpooling—for at least a couple of year and hired a traffic consulting firm to study the situation.
In fact, Glass told the audience June 17 he had been working closely with the Buckhead Community Improvement District and the Georgia Department of Transportation on the restriping of both Peachtree and Pharr roads and on getting dedicated left-turn lanes, with left-turn signals from Peachtree Road to Peachtree Avenue, Delmont Drive and Sheridan Drive.
Asked if he really thought he would get left-turn lanes and left-turn signals at all three of those intersections, Glass said, “probably not all three, but possibly two out of the three—Buckhead
Avenue and Delmont Drive.”
Glass pointed out that Atlanta International School forms a buffer between Peachtree Road and the neighborhood, adding that the schools purchase of the Peachtree Avenue properties reduces the possible reuse of them for commercial, high-density development.
Glass said he has tried to reach out to the neighborhood and explain all aspects of what the school is hoping to achieve, including improving neighborhood traffic situations, but only six people showed up at his first information meeting and not many more at the June 17 meeting.
According to an email from new GHCA President Bobby Wolf to the neighborhood association’s board members, he plans for the board to vote on the AIS plans following a discussion of all aspects of it on Tuesday night.
And, so that at least all of the board members would be familiar with all aspects of what is being proposed, Wolf emailed to them a copy of the Power Point presentation Glass made at the meetings for their advance review.
Check back with BuckheadView.com to learn what GHCA does with its vote.