Cobb County Brings New Schools for a New Year

MARIETTA, Ga. — The Cobb County School District is set to wrap up construction on a number of major projects throughout the district. Seventeen schools are on track to open by the time school begins on August 13, with the exceptions of Garrett and McCleskey middle schools.

Contracts for the two middle schools went to Hensler and Beavers General Contractors of Doraville in Georgia, with McCleskey Middle School projected to cost $8.5 million and Garrett Middle School projected at $7.8 million. Both schools have come in under budget from the original anticipated cost, though the reason behind is unclear, according to the Communications Department for Cobb County School District.

McCleskey Middle School should finish renovations before school begins this fall, and Garrett Middle School is scheduled for completion in the fall, according to Chris Ragsdale, deputy superintendent of operations for Cobb County School District.

“We aren’t saying (McCleskey and Garrett) won’t be finished, but we are concerned with the schedule completion date,” said Ragsdale in a statement.

For McCleskey Middle School, renovations include a fine arts building with a band room, a new cafeteria and kitchen, three new science classrooms, an orchestra and choral room, new HVAC equipment, a new parking lot, instrument locker, an emergency generator, bathrooms and updated flooring.

The two largest projects for the county are Mableton and Clarkdale Elementary. Mableton Elementary School is costing the district almost $18 million, while Clarkdale Elementary School is costing nearly $15 million. Both schools have been under construction for just over a year.

The original Clarkdale Elementary was destroyed in 2009, by what is known to locals as the 100-year flood. Massive flooding from the nearby Noses Creek brought water levels to the ceiling of the school and wrought irreversible damage.

The original Mableton, an elementary, or general school, was built in the late 1800s and grew from a small private school to a high school before it burned to the ground in 1948. A new Mableton High School was established in 1952, with other buildings added on in 1956, 1965 and 1967. With the population increasing in Cobb County, a decision was made to build a brand new, much larger elementary school to accommodate the needs of students.

Mableton Elementary School will feature 61 classrooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria with a stage. It will also be the only elementary school to have a courtyard with theatre-type seating. Clarkdale Elementary School will house 53 classrooms and is expected to double enrollment from its previous location.

Due to the size enlargement for the new Mableton Elementary School, the community received a redistricting of the school system.

“It (redistricting) allowed the district to redistrict its attendance zones, and more efficiently spread our student population throughout that area,” said Doug Goodwin, communications specialist for Cobb County School District.

Funding for all the projects come from the special purchase local options sales tax, with a small portion coming from a limited amount of general funds.

“The overwhelming sentiment is that everyone is excited about these new learning environments. They’re state-of-the-art and will present a brand new, fresh environment for everyone to come into in August,” said Goodwin.