Teasley families may see new classrooms
by Lindsay Field
August 15, 2013 12:08 AM | 2693 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Families whose children attend Teasley Elementary School could be looking at a 20-classroom addition and a three-story building if the Cobb County School Board next Thursday approves a plan for a larger expansion than originally planned.

In March, Cobb voters approved spending $3.1 million at the Smyrna area school to add 10 classrooms, in addition to the relocation of some playground equipment, utilities and paving. This was made possible with the passage of SPLOST IV.

In preparation for construction, Teasley has been split into two campuses for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

Teasley kindergarten and first-grade students are being housed at Smyrna’s Brown Elementary, and second-through fifth-graders have remained at the main campus off Spring Hill Road.

Brown closed in May as a result of redistricting in south Cobb and is about 3 miles from Teasley on Brown Road.

Trying to find a fix

Teasley’s board representative, Scott Sweeney, doesn’t believe a 10-classroom addition will be sufficient for the amount of growth he sees in that area’s future.

During the board’s Wednesday work session, he made a recommendation that the board approve a larger construction project at next week’s meeting.

“We anticipate that there is going to be enrollment growth in that area,” he said. “There have been housing developments in addition to some multi-family developments.”

Sweeney said he’s met with many people from Teasley, including Principal Leslie Mansfield and PTA members, to see what could be done to ease issues in that school community.

“Teasley Elementary School is more than 255 students over capacity and out of all our elementary schools, it has the fewest (classrooms) … 31,” Sweeney told board members.

The school served 731 students in 2012-13, according to March’s official enrollment county, and the building’s capacity is 456.

The number of classrooms isn’t the only problem Sweeney is hearing about.

Because Teasley has a small cafeteria, the kitchen staff begins serving lunch at 9:30 a.m. each day and finishes at about 1:15 p.m.

“The classroom (expansions) will not necessarily address (the capacity) issue,” Sweeney said.

Having realized that, Sweeney said he met with the district’s deputy superintendent of maintenance and operations, Chris Ragsdale, to see what the district could do.

Ragsdale said they asked their architect to review the plans at Teasley and he came to the conclusion that enrollment problems could be resolved by increasing the number of classrooms from 10 to 20 and by also enlarging the cafeteria and library.

“This is the proposal that makes sense,” Ragsdale said. “To house current enrollment and give them some room for growth in the future … a 20-classroom addition is needed.”

He also said that because Teasley’s property is so small, the additions will require a three-story building.

Funding the bigger project

Since only $3.1 million was designated in SPLOST IV for construction at Teasley, Ragsdale said they are looking for alternative funding to pay for the additional costs. He said he won’t have an estimate for these costs until next week.

Ragsdale did say that the district will use unused funds from SPLOST III to pay for the increased costs. Collections are scheduled to stop Dec. 31, 2013.

One specific SPLOST III project Ragsdale said they will pull unused funding for is at Osborne High School. A full rebuild of Osborne was approved with the passage of SPLOST IV.

After the meeting, Ragsdale was asked why this portion of Cobb couldn’t be redistricted in order to reduce overcrowding.

“We have just completed the implementation of the south county redistricting,” he said. “To try to redistrict and relieve the over capacity at Teasley would mean we would have to totally redo the south Cobb redistricting.”

That process can last more than a year.

The board’s next meeting is Thursday, Aug. 22, and will be in the district boardroom at 514 Glover St., Marietta. It will begin at 7 p.m. with public comments.

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