Officials from Atlanta Public Schools – including Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and board member Matt Westmoreland – met with residents on February 19 to discuss options for addressing overcrowding at Inman Middle School. If you were unable to attend, here’s a link to a video of the meeting.
Yesterday, Matt Westmoreland responded to ongoing queries about the status of the Inman expansion with a note saying the Board had decided to defer confirming the pending construction contract. In a letter released last night, APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen confirmed this action, based on APS’ new estimates that project a 2015-16 school year enrollment greater than Inman could accommodate even if expanded (a process projected to take about two years).
Carstarphen’s letter grimly proposes even more portables at Inman while the school board looks at the challenge the cluster faces. The exact status of the expansion plans is unclear; it is possible that some improvements – a revamped gym and lobby, new science labs, and school bus lanes – could be made even without the classroom additions.
VHCA is investing considerable effort in following this process and will have further comments in the near future. It’s time to calmly put all the challenges and options on the table and openly consider them in a thoughtful atmosphere of respect and cordiality. VHCA is committed to meeting that standard ourselves; we expect that everyone else involved in the process will be, as well.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent, Matt Westmoreland, and other APS personnel will review the expansion dilemma at a public meeting in the Inman Auditorium at 6:30 on Thursday, February 19th. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.
At the first Inman Expansion Committee meeting held January 21, 2014, representatives from the architecture firm BRPH shared their Conceptual Design Package for the proposed Inman Middle School addition. A project overview can be found on the Atlanta Public School’s Facilities Department webpage at http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/Page/40689. The project’s current tentative start date is December 2014.
The proposed addition would add approximately 20,000 sq. ft. on two levels (approx. 12,000 sq. ft. to the foot print) to the east (main entrance) side of the building. This expansion would include seven regular classrooms, two health classrooms, one technology lab, renovations to the existing band room, additional bleachers in the gymnasium, reworking of the locker rooms and coaches’ offices, and a complete renovation and addition to the main lobby area. A new stairway and elevator in the main lobby area will allow access to the media center and second level. In addition, the student entrance on Clemont Drive will be shifted over to the new addition and will provide a larger buffer zone for students between the street and the building, and a pull-off for special education buses will be added along Park Dr. Enhanced entry security at the front is planned, including a security vestibule closer to the main office. While the plans are in a very early stage, the building layout in general seems to be well thought-out, and we (authors of the VHMPA post) look forward to its continued development.
The next Inman Expansion Committee meeting will be held in March (date TBD). If you have questions or comments regarding the current conceptual design, please feel free to contact the Inman parent representatives on the committee: Tamara Jones (IMS LSC rep) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gail Price (IMS PTA rep) at email@example.com.