Friday, October 05, 2007

High School Still A Go.

Courtesy: Appen Newspapers /

Freemanville site set to open in 2011.

by Candy Waylock

October 01, 2007Despite continued resident objections and rumors of falling attendance, school officials are still on track to build a new high school on Freemanville Road."No, we're not changing sites, and yes, we are planning to put a school there," said Katie Reeves, the school board member whose district includes Milton.

During Reeve's monthly community meeting in September, she was prepared for the objections of some residents who feel there is a better site somewhere else in Milton to put a new high school.Joining Reeves in her meeting was the school system's chief planner, Patrick Burke, along with a representative from Parsons, which oversees the Fulton Schools construction plan.Burke said while the enrollment forecast for Fulton County Schools was down this current year, the projections for North Fulton were nearly 100 percent accurate.

In fact, 50 more high school students showed up than expected."Based on our projections, Milton High School will have just under 3,000 students by the 2011-2012 school year without relief from a new school," noted Burke.Alpharetta High School is projected to have 2,600 students by 2011-2012. Both schools were built for a capacity of 1,950 students.In determining where the new high school should be located, Burke enters all available data on projected growth, then determines the "target area" in which to look for available land.In the target area for a new high school in Milton, school officials found five available tracts of land, then used a matrix to determine the best fit for a new school.

Reeves explained the land agents consider the number of acres – with 70 acres being the optimum for high schools – the number of owners, the willingness of owners to sell, the topography of the land and the price per acre.Frank Destadio of Parsons noted the system rejected the other four parcels for various reasons, including environmental issues, unwilling sellers and price. Three of those properties were along Hopewell Road, with the fourth on Birmingham Highway.Reeves acknowledged there is no such thing as a perfect piece of property, noting even the current Milton High School has a stream running through the property, which limited construction."If there was a perfect piece of property, it's already been snapped up," she said. "This is the best option; it was approved on a 7-0 vote by the school board and we are moving ahead."

But Lisa Cauley, who lives across from the site on Freemanville Road, is not giving up her fight to stop the school system from becoming her neighbor. Though she said she is through publicly fighting the school system, perhaps hinting at legal action, she is determined to stop the school's construction."This site is wrong on so many levels, especially for the environmental aspects, and being located less than two miles from [Milton High School]," said Cauley. "It seems they just bought the cheapest piece of land they could get without considering the [suitability]."Reeves said every school built in Fulton County has been met with objections, primarily from those residents who live closest to the school.

"Believe me, if we had selected another site we would be having this same discussion with neighbors near that site," said Reeves. "But I would rather fight this battle now than answer to my community in five years when our schools are overcrowded and parents ask why plans were not made."Reeves added the previous owner of the property is paying to make any needed mitigations to the stream on the property.The new high school is scheduled to open in August 2011 and is being funded with proceeds from the one-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The 117-acre site has room for a future middle school if a need develops, but that is not planned before 2012.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is a City of Milton Issue. Where is the City Council on this? The BOE is placing a campus of Elementary, Middle, and HS right smack in the middle of our City. Why aren't you all doing something about this? You have the right to tell them to find another location that fits within our Land Use Plan. You are all so concerned about development and sewer and commercialism, but do nothing and say nothing about the BOE coming in and taking revenue from our city. 90 homes at $1,000,000 or more a piece equals $900,000 + a year of revenue and we have to pay for the roads, fire, police, etc. for these schools. Why aren't you all upset about this. This was supposed to be a residential neighborhood on Freemanville and none of your are speaking out. Why not? There is plenty of property currenty available in Milton better suited for schools. We don't need a campus in the middle of Milton, right next to Crabapple ES, Northestern Middle, and Milton HS, and Summit Hill ES? How on earth can we need all these school within 3 miles of each other when we don't have the DENSITY??? Explain it City Council?Michelle - Milton

Anonymous said...

This is not a City of Milton issue and should not be confused as such.

The Fulton County Board of Education is body of government with little, if no, oversight.

You have to understand that the BOE doesn't really care about our Comprehensive Land Use Plan and they are not required by law to even acknowledge it.

Don't get me wrong, I sure as hell don't want another high school here, but to hold the City responsible for something over which they absolutely no control, isn't going to get you anywhere.

The BOE just plain doesn't care...if they did, then the current high schools serving the area would have been built with a larger capacity...why they weren't is anyone's guess, as it should have been a simple matter to predict how many students they would need to provide for moving foward...

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

Travis, it IS a City Issue since the placement of this school(s) is going to adversely affect the entire City and all those who live in it. Traffic? Land Use Plan?
The City is not directly responsible and that is not what I said,the City officials need to stop being passive and stand up and say what they are all saying behind closed doors to everyone, they don't want it there and think the BOE should find a better location. The community wants a Park there. How great would that be to have a Park right in the middle of Milton?

The City Council has more authority then you and they believe and can influence the BOE if they chose to do so, whether the BOE listens is up to them. You don't think Alpharetta City Council influences the BOE? Right.

Shouldn't the bottom line be if the area needs a school(s) then shouldnt they work with the City and it's officials, its residents and place schools more appropriately within the guidelines of our Land Use Plan. They picked the easiet route for land out here, the cheapest and given up to them without any fight, handed over by Richard Wernick. Chatham said no to them on his property across from Kingsridge. The Trophy club said no to the BOE, and the owner of the 120 acres on Bethany and Providence didn't want to sell either and said no. Wernick said yes, and would you like that gift wrapped.

They are not done picking land out here for schools. If anyone thinks they are done purchasing land out here for future schools, they are fools. If they choose land based on price, and availability then they will continue to shift and rezone and filter more and more students outside of Milton into our City. Why pay $1 Million an Acre in Sandy Springs for land when they can shift and shift students around. Milton has the land and it's less expensive here, they are not done with Milton.

Fulton County deemed this site unfit for Kings Ridge and denied it a Land Use Permit twice for legitimate reasons. This comes from the same county that is now allowing a much larger school and additional middle school to go on this same property. That's the same as condemning Old Milton HS to be it unfit for our students, but allowing Independent students to use it after the fact. You can't have it both ways, it's either unfit, or condemned or it's not.
Michelle - Milton
Protect Milton Member (350 + strong!)

Anonymous said...

Candy Waylock incorrectly stated in her article in the Herald that I was done fighting this school publically, and this is an untruthful statement. I did not state or indicate I am done publicly fighting this school(s) site on Freemanville Road. For the record Protect Milton is a GROUP of residents from this community, and is not one person. I am completely involved in publically fighting this school and will continue to do so. Protect Milton as Michelle indicated has over 350 participants and is growing each day as more and more people become aware and educated about this issue. For the record the community is continuing to work to have this site moved to an alternative location in Milton that will be better for our City as a whole.

Lisa Cauley
Protect Milton Group

Anonymous said...

The key here might be "MoM", who is on Appropriations (Education-Vice Chairman) and Education Committees in State House.

Assuming the City took a stand, the gang of four would have to have approval from "MoM" to go forward. If the truth be known, she has probably forbid their mentioning this, otherwise wouldn't Santi, O'brien and Mohrig be campaigning saying "I will stop the school(s) being built in your city"
There is no reason for Bailey and D'Aversa to hit their head against a brick wall.

Think about it... where does "MoM" actually stand??

Anonymous said...

If 'Mom' is Jan Jones, it is common knowledge she was against Kings Ridge building their school on this same site and was involved with the residents fighting the law suit. Where is she now? Jan, where are you on this? The second word in your title is "Representative". If you didn't want Kings Ridge to build their school on this property, then why aren't you sounding off about this school affecting this property environmentally like you did with Kings Ridge now?

Anonymous said...

Jan Jones aka "SHERIFF" and "MOTHER of MILTON (MoM)" is also on Natural Resources and Environment Committe in Georgia House of Representatives. Believe her being on this committe is a conflict of interest, but that is another story for another time.

Just WHO does she REPRESENT??

It is not Kings Ridge...could it be Fulton County BOE or is it just...what's best for "MoM"s political career???