Druid Hills High School will be 'modernized' after all

druid hills high school
Druid Hills High School students on April 11 published a video detailing the health and safety problems at the school, drawing outrage from the community. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

DeKalb County’s Druid Hills High School will finally get the upgrades students and parents have been requesting. The school board unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to “modernize” the school.

When the board shelved a plan to upgrade Druid Hills back in February, students produced a video documenting problems at the school, ranging from mold to water damage, and even a sign in the computer lab warning students not to touch a pole for fear of electric shocks.

Facilities director Bobby Moncrief told the board some problems will take time to fix, including leaks in some areas of the building.

“It seems we might have a little bit of a water seal issue, and we’re going to investigate that a little bit more, but that should still be taken care of,” he said.

Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley said Tuesday that 58 percent of the needed repairs at Druid Hills have been completed. She said the district will hire contractors to finish the rest. She estimated the cost of modernizing Druid Hills would be around $50 million. Construction will start in September, Tinsley said.

Since Druid Hills students posted their video, students at several DeKalb schools have followed suit, posting pictures and videos of buildings in disrepair.

Tinsley said all schools will get the same consideration.

“The facilities team will continue to work in support of those other sites working with the management staff, maintenance staff, regional superintendents [and] administrators to make sure that we address those needs in those buildings,” she said. “Walkthroughs have already taken place in many of those sites and the work has started.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Education has hired Tanzy Kilcrease as a special appointed advisor to oversee DeKalb’s progress on building repairs and upgrades. She officially begins on June 1.