A process to draw an attendance zone for Brookhaven’s new John Robert Lewis Elementary School began Oct. 2 with a community meeting.

Named for the congressman and civil rights leader, the school is currently operating in a temporary location on North Druid Hills Road and will open in a new building on Skyland Drive in August 2019.

A preliminary rendering of the John Robert Lewis Elementary School. (DeKalb County Board of Education)

Lewis Elementary currently has over 500 open seats, vacancies that the school district hopes to use to curb overcrowding at nearby schools.

About 200 residents attended the Oct. 2 meeting, held at Cross Keys High School. Hans Williams, the director of planning in the operations division of the DeKalb County School District, said that overcrowding has been at nearby Woodward, Dresden and Montclair Elementary Schools. Each school is currently between 100 percent and 122 percent capacity.

The meeting was the beginning of what is expected to be a nearly year-long process running into fall 2019. Other public schools, such as Cross Keys

North Elementary School and Cross Keys Middle School, are scheduled for redistricting between 2019 and 2021.

The Lewis Elementary redistricting involves three rounds of public meetings and recommendations from the superintendent and district staff. Then a final plan will be sent to the Board of Education.

The meeting ended with the collected public attendees joining together for small group discussions centered on a range of topics pertinent to aspects of the eventual redistricting plan. These discussions were recorded by facilitators in order to gather first-hand feedback from community members.

Topics covered in these discussions included what neighborhood areas community members would like to keep together, traffic concerns, and residential development trends that may impact future school enrollment.

Round two of the public meeting series will be at Cross Keys High School on Oct. 24, and will focus on presenting alternate plans for the redistricting.

For more information, see dekalbschoolsga.org/redistricting.

–Alec Larson