The new elementary school to be built on Skyland Park will be named for U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon and longtime member of Congress.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

The DeKalb County Board of Educated voted July 12 to name the school for Lewis, who represents the 5th District in Atlanta. The official name of the school will be John Robert Lewis Elementary School. This is the first public school in the country named for Lewis.

“John Lewis is an American icon who has dedicated his life to the highest ethical standards and moral principles,” said Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green in a statement.

“Each day, our students, teachers, and staff will be reminded of his leadership and sacrifice and the role public education played in his achievements. Lewis Elementary School will embody Congressman Lewis’s concept of a ‘Beloved Community’,” Green said.

Lewis tweeted his thanks.

From a press release from the BOE:

The John Robert Lewis Elementary School will be temporarily located at 2383 North Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, in the former International Student Center, now renovated with state-of-the-art technology and design. The John Robert Lewis Elementary School will relocate when a new replacement school is completed on the Skyland Center property in Brookhaven.
Total construction costs are estimated to be about $30 million for the 900-student facility, similar to modern prototype new schools at Fernbank Elementary School and Peachcrest Elementary School.
With a projected 2017 enrollment of 394 students, John Robert Lewis Elementary School will play a key role in relieving overcrowding in the Cross Keys High School cluster by receiving students from Montclair Elementary School.

Brookhaven City Council voted May 10 to approve an agreement with the DeKalb County Board of Education to purchase Skyland Park for $4.7 million for a new elementary school as part of the school district’s efforts to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster.

The school district is expected to close on the properties with the city and state by January 2017 with the new school slated to open in three years.

The school district is purchasing 10 acres of Skyland Park from Brookhaven and also purchasing from the state the Skyland building where the State Vital Records Office is located for $2.8 million.

As part of the agreement, DeKalb County BOE will then transfer the land the vital records office building is located on — some 4 acres — to the city for the renovation and construction of a new Skyland Park.

Of the $4.7 million being paid to the city, $2.3 million will be used to demolish the state building and build a new Skyland Park to include dog parks, a multi-use field and a playground, according to draft plans drawn up by GreenbergFarrow. Estimated cost to build the new Skyland Park is right at $2.3 million, according to the city.

The remaining $2.4 million will be used specifically for the purchase of more greenspace.

The new park is expected to be completed in less than a year.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.