Atlanta Public Schools proposes projects for $650 million capital plan

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Building renovations, new technology and more stadium bleachers are among the proposed projects Atlanta school officials want to fund if voters extend a one-cent sales tax in November.

Atlanta Public Schools would receive up to $650.8 million over five years through a renewal of the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The tax is the main way school systems pay for major construction work and other capital projects.

The request will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

APS administrators recently presented spending recommendations, and public input sessions are scheduled for next week. The school board is expected to review the project list at its Oct. 4 meeting.

Board chairman Jason Esteves said the proposal includes work in schools across the district. He said officials also “did a good job of incorporating some community-preferred projects” into the plan.

More than a quarter of the revenue would go to construction and renovation at 10 sites, with Peyton Forest Elementary School, on the city’s southwest side, slated to receive the largest investment. Officials recommended spending $27.7 million there, largely to add more classrooms.

“There’s anticipated growth in the area, so this is our planned response to what we are seeing and what we believe we will continue to see over at Peyton Forest,” said Larry Hoskins, chief operating officer, at a recent meeting.

Other suggested projects include a $20.7 million renovation and addition at Toomer Elementary School in the Kirkwood neighborhood and a $19.2 million renovation of F.L. Stanton Elementary School on the district’s west side.

Just over $13 million is earmarked to build a long-discussed bus depot on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. The district also wants to renovate buildings that house the Kindezi Old Fourth Ward and Wesley International Academy charter schools.

Other work is proposed for Miles Elementary School, the main campus of Jackson Elementary School, the Oglethorpe Building and to add a cafeteria and gym at Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron New Beginnings Academy, an alternative high school.

The plan includes adding more bleachers at 10 high school stadiums at an estimated cost of $9 million. Hoskins said the expansion would bring the capacity at each high school to 1,000 seats. There’s currently a wide discrepancy of spectator seats at those venues, with none exceeding 575.

The plan also includes $5 million to update high school theaters and auditoriums at Washington, Mays, Douglass, South Atlanta and the building shared by B.E.S.T. Academy and Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Up to $62.4 million could be spent on technology, including new computers for students and staff.

An estimated $23.3 million would be spent at 53 schools to create more secure entrance areas.

Officials also want to set aside money for general infrastructure work, transportation, kitchen equipment and the demolition of six buildings to remove blight.

Virtual meetings on E-SPLOST plan

All sessions start at 6 p.m. .

Monday: Schools that feed into South Atlanta, Jackson and Douglass high schools

Tuesday: Schools that feed into North Atlanta, Carver and Washington high schools

Thursday: Schools that feed into Therrell, Midtown, and Mays high schools.