An analysis of three possible sites for a new Middle School Academy found that the former David T. Howard High School in the Old Fourth Ward "is the best-suited location of the three in terms of its ability to absorb the proposed Middle School Academy use without causing the quality of life of the adjacent community to erode."
The study was commissioned by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association as part of the community's effort to take an active part in Atlanta Public Schools' discussions about how to relieve crowding at Inman Middle School.
As the nine-page report states, "this analysis has been limited to a review of the three sites provided through the most recent work of the Inman Capacity Task Force." The three sites include Inman Middle School, the Howard site and an area at 10th Street and Monroe Drive. [The complete text of the study is in the PDF attached to this article.]
The Virginia-Highland Civic Association has not taken an official position and the Association stressed that the study should not be seen as endorsement of any of the three sites.
The study looked at several factors in reaching its conclusion:
- Traffic Congestion
- Traditional Neighborhood Balance
- Future Land Use Impact
- Comprehensive Plan Implications
A brief summary of the results shows that in terms of traffic, the 10th and Monroe location would be the worst because it already has more than three times as much traffic as the other two sites.
The report was done by Aaron Fortner, a principal of East Atlanta-based Market + Main.
None of the three locations really fared well in the Future Land Use Impact category.
"Of the three sites, only Irwin Street functions as a street compatible with single family uses. In the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, both Virginia Avenue and Monroe Drive currently operate with many thousands of vehicular trips more than Irwin Street, and as such, are ill-suited for further development that is counter to wishes of the neighborhood."
The final category was the Comprehensive Plan Implications and is based on the City of Atlanta's "Comprehensive Development Plan". According to the report's analysis:
All three sites are within areas defined as Traditional Neighborhoods today. But only Virginia Avenue and Monroe Drive have traffic levels that threaten the re-classification of these portions of their respective communities to Corridors. The ramifications of this type of policy change to the greater Virginia-Highland neighborhood would be drastic and would threaten the viability of the historic land use patterns that exist to this day.
The report said that the Old Fourth Ward location is the best suited of the three studied because:
- Locating the Middle School Academy at either of the two Virginia-Highland locations would not be in the best interest of the long standing vision and goals of the City or the neighborhood.
- The neighborhood is highly desirable due to its strong quality-of-life offerings within the context of a single-family neighborhood. Efforts must be exerted to preserve the delicate balance of density and traffic that give the neighborhood a defining quality while posing its greatest future threat.
- The former Howard School Old Fourth Ward site is the best-suited location of the three in terms of its ability to absorb the proposed Middle School Academy use without causing the quality of life of the adjacent community to erode.