Two public elementary schools on opposite sides of Murphey Candler Lake entered the summer with plans for parking lot construction projects, but only one of them will start the school year Aug. 10 with the work done.
Crews were putting the finishing touches on the new asphalt at Kittredge Magnet School for High Achievers east of the lake Aug. 3 and 4, including correcting white directional arrows that were painted pointing the wrong way.
The project added about two dozen parking spaces to the school on East Nancy Creek Drive, but Principal Gail Humble said the key to the project is the new driveway around the south side of the school. Now, instead of buses and cars using the semicircle to the west of the school off Nancy Creek Way to drop off and pick up children, they will drive around to the back of the school and the expanded parking area.
The change will ensure the safety and security of the children, who previously had to board buses parked on the street, Humble said. “They’ll load and unload in a safe area.”
The secondary benefit of the change, she said, is that the school’s neighbors won’t face the traffic backup in the morning and the afternoon.
Despite that benefit for neighbors, the project did come with some controversy because of the loss of trees behind the school to make room for the pavement. Some people complained about a lack of communication before the project proceeded.
Similar complaints about the loss of trees and the lack of communication arose about the planned parking project at Montgomery Elementary School to the west of the lake on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, but the school system wound up holding a pair of community meetings on the project at the school in the spring. Both meetings led to changes in the plans.
School officials had expressed the hope of starting construction as soon as June 1 so that dozens of additional parking spaces and a new bus loading and unloading area in the northeast corner of the school would be ready for Aug. 10.
But Montgomery Principal Esther Silvers said the project ran into concerns about a water detention pond planned for an area of soccer fields behind the school. The pond was part of the plan because of the increased runoff from the added pavement.
The plan was changed to use a drainage pipe instead, Silvers said, but that delayed the project and increased the cost.
She said there was talk of starting construction this month, but she didn’t want to interfere with the start of the school year. Plus, the school system will have to find more money to proceed, so the project is on hold.