Freshman students from Cross Keys High School gathered at Plaza Fiesta in Brookhaven to discuss student projects.

The DeKalb County Board of Education recently decided to build the new Cross Keys High School at the 26.7-acre former Briarcliff High School site during a monthly board meeting.

On December 5, 2016, the DeKalb County Board of Education approved the E-SPLOST V project list, including “Build a New Cross Keys High School (2,500 seat capacity) at Briarcliff site (or cost-neutral alternative site)” with a budget of $84.8 million. No land costs were approved for this project, as the new school would be constructed at either the existing Briarcliff site or a cost-neutral alternative site (paid for by the sale of the Briarcliff and other properties, according to officials).

The Board of Education has reviewed information over the last several months to contemplate the acquisition of a few candidate sites ranging from 25 to 35 acres in size along the Buford Highway corridor (between North Druid Hills Road and Clairmont Road), as the potential location of the new Cross Keys High School.

According to officials, because none of the sites reviewed were cost-neutral, and based on the additional factors shown below, the Board of Education decided to terminate their search for candidate sites and build the new Cross Keys High School at the former Briarcliff High School site (26.7 acres in total, including the temporary John Lewis ES and associated parking areas):

- The candidate sites along Buford Highway included many apartment units, and would have required the relocation of approximately 240 to 460 apartment units that presently house approximately 260 to 525 students.

-The cost for the purchase of the land (not including finance costs nor the sale of the Briarcliff property) along Buford Highway would have ranged from approximately $36 to $54 million; with the finance costs and the sale of the Briarcliff property, net costs would have totaled approximately $19 to $38 million (land acquisition plus relocation and financing costs less the sale of the former Briarcliff property).

- The finance costs would have required payment from the general fund in fiscal years 2020 through 2022 (three years) until E-SPLOST VI. Such annual payment of $1.9 to $3.8 million would have placed additional pressure on the general fund balance.

Additionally, the officials from the district said they are coordinating a review of traffic conditions around the Briarcliff site in collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and stated the following:

-CHOA, through its Community Investment Agreement with the Brookhaven Development Authority, has already committed $200,000 to the Interchange Modification Report (IMR) soon to be initiated by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

-CHOA has committed $10 million for the local match for the city of Brookhaven for the interchange improvements to support the growth of traffic in the area due to its new facilities—this $10 million is a 20 percent match that will bring down an additional $40 million in federal funds for the roadway improvements.

- CHOA is conducting a detailed traffic study as part of its application to the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for its Development of Regional Impact (DRI) study that reviews the traffic improvements needed in the area for the new expansion of the hospital campus situated at North Druid Hills Road and the I-85 interchange.

-The district is also conducting its own traffic study this spring, in collaboration with CHOA, as the architect for the new Cross Keys HS will initiate its design process for the new Cross Keys High School at the Briarcliff site.

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(2) comments

Ann Kerebes

Your reporting fails to mention the Board was split 4-3 with the 3 "no" votes coming from the three members from the affected area. The new "One DeKalb" may have cracks in it. Why wouldn't they simply rebuild the darn thing were it's been? They own that land, too, don't they?


WHY IN THE WORLD are they renaming Briarcliff High School, Cross Keys High School? Can anyone explain this? I didn't think so. Then why not keep the name? Once again, insanity (and probably $$$) prevails.

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