The controversial North Springs Charter High School renovation plan will be the subject of a community input meeting, held by Fulton County Schools, on Jan. 23.

North Springs, at 7447 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, is the focus of a community campaign to rebuild the entire school. The group, Citizens for a New North Springs, counts the City Council among its supporters. But the Board of Education has said a $19 million renovation and addition in the work is what North Springs will get.

North Springs Charter High School as pictured in a Citizens for a New North Springs presentation.

However, CFANNS sees the process as a foot in the door for leveraging a total reconstruction. And FCS spokesperson Susan Hale did not rule that out, while saying the Jan. 23 meeting is focused on the renovation plan and the assessment that led to it.

“That’s not a question I can answer,” Hale said when asked about wiggle room in the process for getting a new school building. “The scope of the meeting is to introduce key players in the project who are working with the school system to create design solutions to the building issues that have been identified.”

The Jan. 23 meeting will introduce the public to officials from CDH Partners, the renovation architect, and Wonder, By Design, a “visioning firm.” School district officials will attend as well. The meeting will outline the timeline for the project and the methods for public input, with the goal of submitting recommendations and a design to the Board of Education for approval in the spring.

“Together the firms will collect data on North Springs’ facility successes and areas of opportunity and also visit other Fulton County high schools to collect similar information,” says a Fulton Schools press release.

The meeting be held Jan. 23, 6:30-8 p.m., at Ison Springs Elementary School, 8261 Ison Road, Sandy Springs.

CFANNS argues that the North Springs High building, dating to 1963, is too outdated for modern learning, safety and teacher retention.

Mayor Rusty Paul and the City Council supported those arguments in a resolution issued in November. The city has other motives as well, as officials see a new school building as dovetailing with its plans to spark redevelopment of older apartment complexes and shopping centers along northern Roswell Road.

Lynda Bryant, the Board of Education, wrote a letter in response saying that the board currently lacks legal authority to build a new school and has found no need for one.

She wrote that North Springs is safe and in generally good condition, with the upcoming renovations and addition fixing the aging parts. The letter also said that, while the school was indeed built in 1963, only about 35 percent of the structure, based on square-footage, dates to that time, with the rest being additions built since 1993.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.