New schools plan worries residents
by Hannah Morgan
February 05, 2014 04:00 AM | 11611 views | 7 7 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Residents in east Cobb are worried new schools built on land the school board intends to buy would create a traffic nightmare for their neighborhoods.

The Cobb Board of Education approved purchasing a 35-acre plot off Terrell Mill Road, near the intersection of Delk Road, for $9.4 million on Monday.

The address of the plot is 823 Terrell Mill Road, Marietta.

The area is a major thoroughfare for commuters heading into Atlanta on Interstate 75, and is already thick with traffic at rush hour, said Mike Craig, a resident of Amberly Park, a subdivision off of Terrell Mill and Delk roads.

More than 20 residential subdivisions dot the stretch of Terrell Mill Road that includes the desired tract.

With the board’s vote to rebuild Brumby Elementary School, which sits off Powers Ferry Road and Delk roads, residents think Brumby will be rebuilt on the newly purchased land.

Many said they were left out of the decision made by the school board and would have liked to have seen more research done before the board approved moving forward with the purchase.

“I’ve been asked by over 70 people, ‘What is going on?’” Craig said. “Let us know what is going on. We don’t want another Braves deal.”

A number of rumors have been swirling around his neighborhood, Craig said, and he came to Monday night’s meeting hoping to get some facts. An earlier call to board member Scott Sweeney had been unsuccessful, as Sweeney told Craig he couldn’t comment on the land deal.

“We’re not afraid about a school going back there, I’m concerned about the traffic,” Craig told the board Monday.

Nearly 3 miles north of the proposed Braves stadium, many of the residents in subdivisions along Terrell Mill are already anticipating future stadium traffic. At least four people spoke to the board about their concerns Monday.

John Norvander, a parent in one of the subdivisions off of Terrell Mill Road, asked the board if there could be a traffic study on the area before a school was built on the 35-acre site.

John Williams, a Marietta resident, warned the board that adding a new school along Terrell Mill Road would cause “absolutely horrendous” traffic problems.

“I think that would be a huge, unanticipated consequence to relocate to that area,” Williams said.

Bob Scalise, a resident of the Terrell Road area, agreed.

“To put a school there would be an absolute disaster,” Scalise said.

The district intends to rebuild Brumby Elementary School on the new site, which should be purchased by the board in the next one to two months, said Chris Ragsdale, the deputy superintendent of operational support.

A timeline has not yet been determined for construction, and the district has not begun to look for construction managers, Ragsdale said.

A traffic study is underway with the Cobb Department of Transportation, and results should be available within the next 45 days, Ragsdale said.

“It’s going to be miserable,” said Eric Stein, a parent at East Valley Elementary School on Lower Roswell Road, who says he drives on Terrell Mill Road every day to get to work.

Stein said he was concerned with the board’s decision to buy the land and rebuild Brumby and Mountain View Elementary.

South Cobb parents

feel slighted

Parents from Harmony Leland Elementary, in Mableton, broke into tears Monday after the board voted to rebuild both Brumby Elementary School and Mountain View Elementary School with SPLOST IV funds.

Parents felt the board had made a political decision in not choosing their south Cobb school for a rebuild.

Board member David Morgan argued his district, south Cobb, deserved a new school, which would bring hope and inspiration to the communities. At least 25 parents, residents and students in blue T-shirts supporting Harmony Leland for a rebuild asked board members to choose their school Monday.

“We are pleading for you to vote yes to rebuild Harmony Leland,” said Shenna Ritch, a parent at the school.

Board members said the decision to not rebuild Harmony Leland was a tough call.

“We would like to choose them all, I’m sure, but we have two set aside with SPLOST IV to make a decision on,” Angelucci said.

Members Tim Stultz and Morgan tried to convince the board to approve rebuilding Mountain View Elementary only if funds from future land sales would be set aside to rebuild and consolidate Harmony Leland and Clay Elementary, both in south Cobb.

The rest of the board was unsure of the legality of such a move. Nevertheless, the board voted 5-2, with Morgan and David Banks opposed, to accept Mountain View to be rebuilt with SPLOST IV funds on the condition the board would set aside funds to construct a new school in south Cobb.

Angelucci said she was concerned about the finality of their move. Legally, it was not possible to guarantee a future board would continue to set aside funds for a new school in south Cobb.

Parents were not comforted with Stultz’s idea.

“Clearly the Cobb County School Board again overlooked the south Cobb area. Politics mean more than people,” said Sandi Douget, a concerned business owner.

Pete Hixson, a pastor at Vinings Lake Church in Mableton, said he was extremely disappointed with the decision.

“They are overlooking the greater good of Cobb County. I feel like it was a political decision, instead of what is best for the whole county,” Hixon said. “But people will win in the end over politicians.”

Comments
(7)
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May 19, 2014
I live in that area - it is already tough getting out of my subdivision because of so much traffic - don't see how adding parent's cars and buses to that mix will improve it in any way. The zone needs to be redistricted - Children that go to Brumby come from as far as the mall area to attend school there. There 3 schools around the area - and I am sure there must be more nearer the mall area - the students can be redistributed and those schools can have an added building put in their area. This zoning was set-up to catch all the apartment buildings - - look at the map. These transient children should not be all grouped together - not good for them and not good for teachers. This is a joke! Providing a new school does not change that fact! You need to address the zoning problem. Then if you need a new school - build one.
Community Lynn
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February 05, 2014
Brumby more than demonstrated their great need of a new building and the only land available is the land on Terrell Mill Road. With a good design, traffic will flow a lot better within the school property than that of the current Brumby location where busses and parents do not have the room to drop off the students without causing congestion and safety issues. Brumby currently is not a safe location for children not only because it is in a major commercial cooridor but because of the power transfer station next to the school. 17 trailers and two seperate buildings with no covered walkways and having the highest percentage of overcrowding of elementary schools, the school board made a good decision. For those of the community who think it will bring more congestion...you rather have a 38 acre subdivision with at least two cars per home streaming out onto Terrell Mill Road during rush hour? An elementary school is a much better option...not only for the children but for homeowners. I own a home off of Terrell Mill and Terrell Mill so I do understand the dynamics of our area. It will be a good thing to put an elementary school in a neighborhood area and remove it from a commercial one. It is a win/win for everyone.
Cobb Parent
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February 05, 2014
How about 2 schools? See - the amount of land is too much for an elementary school. The real plan is to also put EC Middle there. planning to build entrance & exit ramps to the property?
Traffic Issue
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February 05, 2014
That stretch of Terrell Mill, connecting Powers Ferry / Delk to Lower Roswell / Old Canton, is the central artery (more like the aorta) that keeps the area moving. It's the Downtown Connector of East Cobb. Throwing a wrench into the middle of this vital route will jam up the east Cobb commute. This differs from Brumby's current location on Powers Ferry because that road is a north-south with many alternatives. Terrell Mill is the ONLY route connecting east (Lower Roswell / Old Canton) to west (Powers Ferry / Delk).

That said, no other school deserves a replacement building more than Brumby, and this probably the only undeveloped parcel in the area that is large enough for it. Perhaps smaller parcels can be pieced together or downtrodden commercial properties looked at as well.
Cobb Parent2
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February 05, 2014
Every parent who has a child in an aging school in Cobb County would LOVE to have their school rebuilt. The FACT that Brumby is over capacity by almost 300 students, has 17 portable classrooms and hasn't had any major renovation or construction since 1997 screams volumes. This school NEEDS to be rebuilt and enlarged. The aforementioned plot is the perfect space in which to to this.

The school currently sits on Powers Ferry Road at the intersection of Terrell Mill- a very busy commercial district. There is also a private school, Schreiner Academy, positioned near the same intersection - a major traffic artery into the Windy Hill Corridor. How is traffic now around the school during arrival and dismissal times? Does it run smoothly? Is there a back-up of traffic? I've heard no complaints from residents- the same residents that currently travel Terrell Mill. What makes these citizens think that moving the school 1 mile up Terrell Mill will ensnare traffic- which apparently isn't an issue now?

Please enlighten me.
Cobb Parent
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February 05, 2014
Wow Cobb Parent2 - Thanks for the softball!

See - Terrell Mill in front of the designated space handles ALL of the traffic coming from southern East Cobb heading to 75. Then - there's a SPLIT (at Terrell Mill & Delk in case you aren't familiar with the area) where 70% of the traffic peels to the left to hits Powers Ferry (SOUTH of the current location) and the remaining 30% stays to the right to go Delk (North of the current location). Brumby is not, in fact, at the INTERSECTION with Terrell Mill. It is in a corridor that is less traveled than either Terrell Mill or the rest of Powers Ferry because traffic is heading towards the interstate via the routes mentioned above. Check your map skills and be enlightened!
Cobb Parent2
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February 05, 2014
You're welcome Cobb Parent. I see the logistics now, thank you.

I am not familiar with the area during high traffic volume times so this is a bit enlightening.
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