Fernbank Construction on Schedule

On Tuesday, October 21, DCSD Construction staff presented their third monthly Fernbank Elementary School Construction Update to assembled parents and members of the community.  The project remains on schedule for completion in the summer of 2015, with classes for the entire 2015-2016 school year taking place in the new facility on Heaton Park Drive.  Highlights of this month’s update:

  • The general contractor (R.K. Redding, or RKR) is planning to begin slab on grade (SOG) concrete pours the week of October 27, if weather permits.  The schedule calls for 12 pours, each of which take an entire day to complete.  The first pour is scheduled to begin at the rear of the site, on the “ground floor” of what will become the rear of the building footprint.
  •  Structural steel fabrication is complete, with all steel ready to be shipped to the site as soon as the SOG pours are completed and significant vertical construction can begin.
  • The underground storm water detention system is in place at the rear of the property and the contractor is in the process of filling and compacting the dirt over the system.  Unsuitable soils were discovered on that part of the site during the excavations necessary to accommodate the storm water detention system, which required RKR to bring in “good” fill dirt from an off-site location.  This is the pile of dirt that is visible just behind RKR’s construction trailer near Heaton Park Drive.  Included in the unsuitable soils that are being removed (the large pile of dirt along the southeastern border of the site) were construction materials from the construction of the original Fernbank building in the 1950s.
  • Drilling of the large knob of subsurface granite that was discovered underneath the old building’s gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen, to allow for the construction of the new building’s foundations at the proper depth, has almost been completed, and will be complete in time for those foundations to be constructed prior to the SOG pours for the front part of the building.  RKR was able to complete this task without any change to the project schedule, and managed to do so without resorting to blasting.
  • Construction of foundations, walls and the installation of plumbing piping underneath the locations of the concrete slabs are underway.
  • In response to an inquiry made at the September meeting, the architect advised that the project has been designed to follow the “Night Skies Initiative”, which seeks to protect wildlife, cut energy waste and minimize light pollution.  The fixtures to be installed for the exterior lighting are LED fixtures that distribute light straight down, without any “bleed” upward or out.  The current lighting plan restricts all exterior light to the footprint of the property.
  • Remaining schedule:  Construction of the building envelope has just begun and will continue through December.  Interior construction will begin in December and continue through April, 2015.  Construction finishes (paint, flooring and other fine-tuning of the interior spaces) will be occur in May and June, 2015, with substantial completion on target for June, 2015.  Building systems “startup” will commence in July, 2015, as well as the installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment.  Move-in is also scheduled for July, with occupancy and classes beginning in August, 2015.

The next update meeting will take place the week of November 17, at the Fernbank Science Center.  Specific dates have yet to be finalized but the time (7:45 a.m.) will remain the same for all future meetings.  The specific date for the November meeting will be announced no later than next week.

Charlie Rogers
Fernbank School Council Chair

Atlanta Annexation Forum

Anne Wallace, Chair of the Atlanta Annexation Initiative for DHCA, attended the Fernbank PTA meeting on Wednesday, October 22, and provides the following information from the meeting. (These remarks are also posted on the DHCA website.)

After taking care of school business at the beginning, the evening was devoted to Atlanta Annexation and what it would mean to the school community. There was a good crowd in the cafeteria as Marshall Orson (DeKalb School Board District 2), Matt Lewis (Druid Hills Charter Cluster), and Howard Mosby (Chair of DeKalb House delegation) answered questions from the audience after making brief opening remarks.

1. The Proposed Atlanta Annexation Map displayed on the screen is the same map AAI adopted which includes the Fernbank ES and Briar Vista ES attendance zones. The audience was told they could see the map on the DHCA website or go to the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) website for school attendance zones.

2. Marshall made the point that his personal goal as a member of the School Board is to see that every student has the opportunity for a good education. He does not believe that DeKalb County has done a good job of that. Marshall supported the Charter Cluster because he believed it would raise the level of education for a large number of students, but the DCSD did not see it the same way. He held out hope that the Board would take another vote and approve it, but that was not to be.

3. Matt Lewis advocated the importance of keeping the school community intact (particularly the elementary schools) in order to have a good neighborhood. He recognized that it is logical for Emory to go to Atlanta for many reasons.

4. He encouraged the audience to be proactive; don’t be left out or acted upon.

5. The capacity of the 2 elementary schools (which would be K-8) is about 1500-1600 and Druid Hills High School has capacity to accommodate that number as well.

6. Matt Lewis recognized Matt Westmoreland, APS Board Member, who was in the audience. And stated his admiration for several APS members including the new superintendent and others she has appointed. Matt Lewis stated that he believes there is a better education opportunity for your children in Atlanta.

7. In answer to a question about what is in the annexation for residents withOUT children in school, Matt Lewis answered with praise for the NPU and UDC processes in Atlanta.

8. Howard Mosby, head of the DeKalb House Delegation, fielded many questions about the legislative process.

9. A possible timeline would be: 2015 legislature drops a bill for the proposed annexation area to hold a referendum November 2015; many negotiations take place prior to the referendum (APS/DCSD, City of Atlanta studies service delivery, etc.) If referendum passes, it would likely not affect the schools until August 2016-17 School Year.

10. I was approached by people from other neighborhoods asking if they can join our Atlanta Annexation Initiative. The answer is yes; it is not limited to Druid Hills residents.

You can stay up-to-date on this issue by visiting http://druidhills.org/cityhood-annexation-options/. Feel free to share questions or suggestions as developments unfold.

Atlanta Annexation | Panel Discussion at Fernbank Elem.

The Fernbank Elementary School PTA extends the invitation below. The location of the Fernbank School in Avondale Estates is 3131 Old Rockbridge Road.

Dear Community Leaders,

We would like to invite you to attend the Fernbank Elementary General PTA meeting on Wednesday, October 22 at 6pm in the Fernbank (at Avondale) Cafeteria.

In addition to general PTA business we will have Atlanta Annexation on the agenda and have asked a select group of panelists to facilitate the discussion. We hope you will be able to join us for what we believe will be a very informative evening for our Elementary school community.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Best Regards,
Melissa Fishbein and Laura Disque
Fernbank Elementary PTA Co-Presidents 2014-2015

Fernbank ES Construction Update | Change

Fernbank Elementary School PTA LogoThe monthly meeting to discuss the construction progress of the Fernbank Elementary School has been changed. The information on the date/time of this meeting per the PTA is:

The October update meeting for the Fernbank Elementary School construction progress will be held on Tuesday, October 21 at 7:45 a.m. at the Fernbank Science Center on Heaton Park Drive.

 We look forward to seeing you there!

~Fernbank Elementary School Council

Coyotes, Again. Take This Survery for Scientific Researchers, please.

Chris Mowry


I am a professor of biology at Berry College (in Rome, GA) who has been studying coyotes for the past ten years. I went to graduate school at Emory University and lived intown for 15 years (Morningside, Decatur, and Druid Hills). My research team and I are initiating a scientific study of coyotes living within urban areas and we want to begin by surveying metro Atlanta residents about their attitudes towards and experiences with these animals. We hope to develop a better understanding about such things as coyote movement patterns, population sizes, and feeding behaviors, and then eventually share this information with the public.

If you would be willing to complete a short online survey to help us learn more about potential areas of coyote activity, we would be most appreciative. The survey is not intrusive and only asks for personal location and contact information on a voluntary basis. The survey has been vetted and approved by the Institutional Review Boards of my home institution (Berry College) and by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (I have a graduate student from UTC, Jeremy Hooper, who is working on the project with me). Dr. Larry Wilson (Emory University and the Fernbank Science Center) is another member of our research team. Even if you’ve never seen or had any interaction whatsoever with a coyote, your responses will be helpful to us.

Click here to take the survey:  Berry College Coyote Survey.

Household Hazardous Waste Event

Sponsored by DeKalb County Sanitation and Keep DeKalb Beautiful

Saturday, October 18, 2014
8:00 am – 12:00 pm

DeKalb Sanitation Central Transfer Station
3720 Leroy Scott Drive
Decatur, GA 30032

This event is at no charge for any resident of DeKalb County.

Please join us to properly dispose of dangerous chemicals that are no longer in use.


  • No COMMERCIAL vehicles,
  • Free for DeKalb County residents ONLY,
  • IDs required,
  • Early arrival is RECOMMENDED,
  • Residents are limited to 10 gallons of paint per vehicle.
Items Accepted

Lawn-care products
Fluorescent light bulbs
Photo chemicals
Hobby and artists supplies
Paints & paint related products
Cleaners & swimming pool chemicals

Items NOT Accepted
Agricultural wastes
Radioactive materials
Bio-hazardous / Bio-medical waste

The Event Flyer (pdf):    Household Waste Event


This little cat/kitten showed up in our backyard last night.  No collar, sharp teeth and appears unkempt. It doesn’t seem to be too keen on humans and meows constantly. We are guessing it is a wild cat, but thought we’d send out a notice in case anyone is looking for him/her.

Andy Montgomery



Trees Atlanta NeighborWoods | Sign Up

Through their NeighborWoods program, Trees Atlanta has agreed to provide deeply discounted native species trees in the yards of Druid Hills, starting with our own Division 2. The trees are $30 for DHCA members and $60 otherwise. Planting is included in the price. Prior to planting, Trees Atlanta will assist each participant in determining the appropriate tree(s) for their yard.

We need volunteers to sign up people on their street that want to take advantage of this beneficial program:

Artwood Rd.   –   Sydney  Cleland
Barton Woods Rd.
East Lake Rd.
The Parkwoods
Ponce de Leon Ave.
Ponce Manor
N. Ponce de Leon Rd.
Ridgecrest Rd.

Those who want to assist with neighbor sign-up should contact Anne Wallace at annewallace@prodigy.net.

Deadline for signing up to purchase trees October 15.  After that, if we do not  have 50 trees sold, the offer will be opened to other divisions in Druid Hills.

Remember:  $30/tree if DHCA Member; $60/tree otherwise. Planted for free. This must be in the front yard. Prices for trees for backyards is higher and does not include installation.

Additional information on the NeighborWoods program obtained from the Trees Atlanta website is posted below:


Preserving our natural forest, one neighborhood at a time

Trees Atlanta is partnering with neighborhoods across Metro Atlanta to plant native species, raise awareness about the benefits of trees, and create a core group of tree advocates. NeighborWoods is a collaborative effort to replenish and sustain the tree canopy, while also educating the community on tree care and management.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a vibrant tree canopy featuring healthy native species of trees. Preserving and expanding the canopy of metro Atlanta has been the objective of Trees Atlanta since its founding, and the NeighborWoods program is an essential component of that mission.

Started in 2001, NeighborWoods provides communities with necessary tools and resources to plant new trees, and develops educational programs for core groups of tree advocates. In just over a decade, NeighborWoods projects have planted thousands of trees in neighborhoods all across metro Atlanta. Trees Atlanta staff members work with volunteers to select the best trees for a given project, help arrange the necessary funding, schedule the plantings, develop educational training programs, and offer support for ongoing care and preservation.

More Details

Trees Atlanta requires a neighborhood to have a need for 30 or more trees in front yards and/or public right-of-way, and also have neighborhood participation.

  • Timing of project will be announced a few weeks in advance of the project.  We plant the trees on a Saturday morning from 9 am to 12 pm with volunteers from both the neighborhood and all over the city.
  • Plantings occur between October and March.
  • The trees will be 1/2” -2” caliper, 5’-10’ tall.
  • We strive to plant native trees and trees that fair well in Atlanta’s climate.  We do not plant any known invasive species.
  • Trees Atlanta will provide three years of maintenance – such as mulching, pruning, and watering (for 2 years) with recycled water when possible.
  • We ask that residents help water trees on their street during periods of high water stress.


NeighborWoods projects have many instant effects on a neighborhood, including:

  • Cooling urban areas – Shade provided by trees has a direct cooling effect on the air temperature for surrounding sidewalks, parking lots, roads, residences, and parks. Tree lined streets provide cool comfort for pedestrians and residents.
  • Improving air quality – High temperatures escalate the production of smog and other pollutants. Trees help by reducing the air temperature through shading and carbon monoxide absorption. Trees also intercept airborne particulates and absorb gaseous pollutants.
  • Reducing traffic speeds – Studies indicate that tree-lined roads provide a sense of enclosure, which causes motorists to drive slower and more carefully. In a sense, trees act as natural traffic managers.
  • Energy conservation – By producing shade in warm climates, trees help conserve energy as they intercept radiant heat. Trees located strategically near your house can reduce air conditioning bills dramatically. Trees also block the wind, which can save energy in cold climates by reducing heat dissipation.
  • Noise reduction – Trees and shrubs are effective buffers in screening out urban noise. Trees dull or soften sound waves that attempt to pass through them. A row of trees can cut the ambient noise level approximately in half.
  • Creating a beautiful boulevard  – Property values of homes with trees in the landscape are 5 – 20% higher than equivalent properties without trees. Beautifying the neighborhood also sends a message to would-be criminals that the invested community is more vigilant in protecting the area.