The following letter was forwarded to the editor for publication.

Dear Fellow North Atlanta Parents and Stakeholders:

As you know, APS (Atlanta Public Schools) has announced its intention to construct a new high school to serve our community, a decision that is necessitated by the rapid growth in enrollment at Sutton Middle School.

Recent media reports indicate that APS has now removed from consideration a centrally-located site on East Andrews Drive, the site of the current Paces Apartments, a decision prompted by the vocal opposition of neighbors who reside nearby. The voices of opponents to this site have been heard, but we are concerned that those most directly impacted by this decision — parents, students and other North Atlanta stakeholders –have not had an opportunity to have our views considered as well.

Aerial photo above shows the IBM tract off Northside Parkway that is under consideration as a location for the new North Atlanta High School.

The new high school for the north Atlanta zone will be the first entirely new high school constructed in our area in 50 years. It is an incredibly important decision that will impact our students and parents today, and many thousands of others in the decades to come. That’s why we have created an online petition as a vehicle to express to APS decision makers our views and priorities for the site of the new school (Petition Link: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41666.html ).

We believe it is crucial that whatever site selected be centrally-located, readily accessible to the families it serves, and not geographically isolated from our community. Our purpose is not to endorse a specific location, but to express what we see as key priorities in making this extremely important decision.

Please take the time to read the petition and, if you agree, sign it as well. This petition will have more impact if we all provide our names and as much specific information as possible about our concerns in the comments section. Feel free to forward this link to others with a stake in the siting of our new high school.

As our petition grows we will make it available to APS decision makers, the media and others with an interest. It’s a fast, easy way to have an impact right away. Since a decision is likely soon, time is of the essence.

Let’s make OUR voices heard!

Chris Riggall and Kevin McCauley

________________________________________________________

Loudest voices win

To the editor:

It is quite unfortunate that the loudest voices, the extremely vocal few, won the battle before a conversation could even be had. The weak arguments about traffic and bars around the West Paces site were convenient to hide the real “we don’t want a public high school in our neighborhood!” That’s the bottom line.

The sad part is that none of the facts about our neighborhood schools are being reported. We only hear the “newsworthy” stuff like APS CRCT cheating, and rumors of losing accreditation. How about we report the facts about our neighborhood public schools?

The schools feeding our only middle school – Brandon, Rivers, Smith, Garden Hills, Jackson, and Bolton – are all excellent IB (international baccalaureate) authorized schools. Sutton is an IB authorized MYP School which offers amazing opportunities to its students.

Did you know that approximately 70 percent of those elementary students go on to choose Sutton as their middle school? Did you know that Sutton is the only feeder school for North Atlanta (high school), and that approximately 90 percent of Sutton’s students choose to move on to North Atlanta, Atlanta’s oldest IB high school.

The families of Sutton and North Atlanta are the neighborhood. We live here and we pay the taxes too. Our elementary schools are nestled in neighborhoods, and that’s what we love about them. Our middle school is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood and park. What an amazing location!

It would have been dreamy, almost nostalgic, to have our high school nestled in the neighborhood and town where kids can walk to Johnny Rockets for a burger and shake after school, or to the neighboring church for youth group. How awesome to be able to partner with businesses a stone’s throw away for work study. Isn’t that truly community?

Bravo to the loudest voices! You won without a fight. Let’s keep the kids out of the way on Northside Parkway; out of sight, out of mind. Or better yet, yes the traffic over by Sydney Marcus is divine!

Kim Zemmali.

___________________________________________________

Traffic concerns too

To the editor:

Neighbors in the Mount Paran/I-75 area are getting wind of the possible IBM facility for the new Buckhead High School. While I am aware of the opposition to Paces Apartment location, I also want to express my very strong opposition to the IBM site.

Opposition to The Paces Apartments location cites traffic concerns, but there are also significant traffic concerns in the I-75/Mount Paran area.

So much of the Cobb commuter traffic either proceeds south on Northside Parkway or exits I-75 South at Mount Paran and is forced west off of the exit ramp. There is a significant amount of additional traffic that proceeds west on Mount Paran and north on Northside Parkway to Lovett, Trinity and Westminster schools. You need to be familiar with the Mount Paran/I-75/Northside Parkway intersection between 7:30a.m. and 8:00 a.m. before you make this decision.

The liquor-licensed establishments seem like a trivial argument against The Paces Apartment location or anywhere for that matter. Establishments are not going to risk losing their licenses to serving minors just because a high school is located nearby. For that matter, there are many liquor establishments up and down Northside Parkway to Cumberland Mall! The proposed IBM site is also in the very northwest corner of the City of Atlanta. It seems more prudent to select a more centrally based location for both school buses and parent/student drivers.

I urge you to reconsider both The Paces Apartments location and the old Home Depot site (close to a MARTA Station, Buford Highway Lindbergh and Piedmont roads).

Melinda Kenan