By Amy Wenk

Garden Hills Elementary, located on Sheridan Drive in Buckhead, will be more gardenlike with the completion of two projects this April.

First, the long-awaited construction of a soccer field and 26 additional parking spaces in the low land fronting the school will come to fruition. The endeavor, which is being funded through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds from Atlanta Public Schools, began the planning process four years ago, and construction started in December.

“We have had some serious parking issues for a while,” said Amy Wilson, Garden Hills’ principal. “But we have also been very blessed as a school to have had several renovations of the building, so we are very grateful to have this opportunity to have a field and a parking lot.”

Second, the aging walkway between Rumson Road and Sheridan that connects the school to the heart of the Garden Hills community is undergoing a serious facelift.

“It’s pretty crumbly,” said Marion Hopkins, parent of fifth-grader Sarah and a member of the school’s Grounds Committee, who is spearheading the walkway project. “There are parts of it that are just due to natural sifting of the soil. Part of it was busted up due to the construction a few years back.”

In addition to the walkway being broken in many places, gravel from a nearby fire lane litters the hilly section, creating hazards for pedestrians. Drivers also mistake the path for a driveway onto Rumson Road, posing dangers to the young schoolchildren who use the walkway each day to get to and from school.

“We are going to put a stop to that,” Hopkins said. “The way we’ve designed this is going to prevent traffic from coming down the walkway.”

Because of a large donation from the Garden Hills Garden Club, part of the renovation was completed in mid-February with the addition of granite walls, which will double as planters to beautify the space. There are also plans to install a speed hump to improve safety for children crossing Rumson Road.

At this time, Hopkins and other parents are raising money to repair the walkway through the sale of personalized, engraved bricks that will become part of the sidewalk. Around 125 bricks have been purchased, which is about two-thirds of what is needed.

A 4-by-8-inch brick is available for $50; the 8-by-8-inch brick is $100. Corporate sponsors can purchase items like benches and bollards to adorn the walkway.

For more information about the walkway project or to order a brick, contact Hopkins at (404) 261-7525 or