Atlanta school board OKs $46 million contract to reopen MLK’s old school

The Atlanta school board approved a $46 million contract to renovate Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood school, closed for more than 40 years.

The Atlanta Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved the not-to-exceed contract with Parrish Construction Group to transform the shuttered David T. Howard Building in the Old Fourth Ward into the new Howard Middle School. Officials said the project will relieve overcrowding at Inman Middle School and reopen the school the civil rights leader attended from 1936 to 1940.

"I can't think of a better year to have this approved -- on the 50th anniversary marking his life and his legacy," said Superintendent Meria Carstarphen during Monday's meeting.  She unveiled renderings of the project last week on the anniversary of King's assassination.

The project, with a total estimated cost of $52 million, will be paid for with the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The district aims to have it ready to open in the fall of 2020.