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Decatur to Overhaul Schools, Retain Flying Saucer

Whitney Houston believed that children are our future. So too does the Decatur School Board, which recently signed off on spending some serious dough — $90 million — for a renovation and expansion of Decatur High School and Renfroe Middle School. With protracted annexations still afoot, the school board has had time to mull options for increasing the capacity at the two schools. Following studies that resulted in four options per school, final decisions have been made, and the process of construction should begin soon.

For Decatur High School, the school board opted for Option 1A, dubbed "Collegiate Courtyard," begging the question of who comes up with these ridiculous names. The plan, divided into four phases, will ultimately double the size of the 125,000 square foot building, with a total of 69 new instructional units — presumably classrooms to people who use normal words.

The school will remain oriented toward North McDonough Street and retain the iconic modernist "flying saucer" structure that anchors the original 1964 building. The dated structure will be given new life through enclosing and repurposing, providing a main entrance along the thoroughfare which connects the school with downtown Decatur and its square. All told, the plan is projected to cost $55.8 million.

For Renfroe Middle School, the school board selected Option 4. While it was the smallest option by square footage, the building is compact and more energy efficient than the other options. A courtyard at the center of the building will provide controlled green space and light into the core of the school.

· Board of Education approves renovation plans [Decaturish]
· Master Planning at Renfroe Middle and Decatur High Schools [City Schools of Decatur]