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Three expansion projects get under way at DeKalb high schools

The band played. The ROTC unit presented the colors and dignitaries from throughout the county celebrated at DeKalb’s Martin Luther King Jr. High this month.

Officials held a groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 12 for a $10.5 million expansion project that is getting under way at the school.

The ceremony marked the third groundbreaking the district has held in less than a month. Officials also broke ground on expansion projects at Southwest DeKalb High School on Nov. 27 and at Miller Grove High on Nov. 28.

Together, the three projects will total $44.1 million and will be funded using revenues generated through the one cents Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Most of the upgrades at the three schools will be funded by SPLOST III and the rest will be funded by SPLOST IV.

“This is a great day in DeKalb and an even greater day for Martin Luther King High School,” said interim Principal Vivian Terry. “Like the leaders and builders before us, the project we are celebrating today has required leadership, foresight and careful planning. This groundbreaking has been years in the making.”

Martin Luther King High will get a 76,728-square-foot, two-story addition with 18 general classrooms, six science classrooms, four information technology labs, a family consumer science lab, drama room, art room and chorus room will be housed. The building will also contain new administrative offices and a ninth-grade commons area.

Southwest DeKalb’s $27.2 million project includes an 83,816-square-foot Fine Arts building, and the renovation of the school’s 500 hall wing, which will house a 640-seat auditorium and 31 instructional classrooms, including computer, math and science labs, special education rooms, chorus and drama rooms, a band room to accommodate 300 students and an amphitheater.

Miller Grove’s $6.4 million project will include a two-story classroom building that will include a new drama room and renovation of a tech-science-food lab.

School officials say the three projects are expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.

School Board member Jay Cunningham, whose District 5 includes the three schools , said the MLK expansion was a long-time coming. The project will replace the trailers on the school’s campus.

“This has been a project that the school system has been working on for six years. It was approved back in 2006,” said Cunningham. “We started off with 42 trailers here. We’re down to 31 now. When this project is completed, we’ll have zero.

Sophomore Itea James will be a senior when the renovations are complete.

“It will be really nice for the upcoming classes to enjoy too,” James said.

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