While much of the current school construction buzz in Buckhead surrounds the soon-to-open new high school, E. Rivers Elementary parents will be in a holding pattern until Atlanta Public Schools rebuilds their campus.

The new North Atlanta High is on target for an August 2013 opening. When students move into the new building on Northside Parkway, APS will shuffle students from Sutton Middle into their new home, the current high school campus on Northside Drive.

When that happens, E. Rivers students will attend the current Sutton campus at Chastain Park for about 18 months while contractors begin work reconstructing the historic school.

APS spokesman Stephen Alford said the total cost of the project would be $20 million, which includes $16 million in construction costs.

The targeted completion date is December 2014.

“The architect’s contract is being finalized,” Alford said. “Design activities, including the start-up of the design committee, will commence shortly.”

Christianna McCaleb, current E. Rivers Parent Teacher Association co-president, said the immediate focus for parents has been the transition into Sutton. E. Rivers officials have visited the Sutton campus to help them prepare.

“I really believe it’s going to be a positive transition,” McCaleb said. “Just like anything, it will be an adjustment the first couple of weeks and we’ll get in our groove and that will be it.”

She said for many parents the new school idea seems farther down the road but it will be a relief.

“Right now we’re really crowded and we’re all happy to know there is a solution in sight and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

E. Rivers has been a part of the community since 1917, and has educated generations of Atlanta’s residents and leaders. The original school burned down in 1948 and the rebuilt campus opened in 1950.

With the new building on the way, McCaleb is hopeful the investment will keep the E. Rivers community comfortable for a while.

“It is truly one of those great, wonderful schools in Atlanta,” she said. “Hopefully it will be another 50 to 100 years before we need another building.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com