The Forest Cove apartments in southeast Atlanta have been condemned. (Photo courtesy Atlanta Civic Circle)

The demolition and redevelopment of the Forest Cove apartment complex in southeast Atlanta will also force the temporary closure of Thomasville Heights Elementary School (THES) due to a lack of students.

Atlanta Public Schools and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta (a non-profit school management organization that partners with APS to operate Carver cluster schools) announced Friday that the court ruling fast-tracking the relocation of Forest Cove residents will result in far fewer students projected to be zoned for the school.

All students living in Forest Cove will be able to complete this school year at THES. Next school year, beginning in the fall of 2022, students who currently attend THES but do not live in Forest Cove will be temporarily rezoned to Slater Elementary School.

“The Forest Cove redevelopment will dramatically improve living conditions for residents and ultimately result in positive outcomes, and we are sensitive to the sudden nature of this situation,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring. “Therefore, APS and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta will continue to partner to help minimize disruption for families, students, and staff. PBSA is a valued partner. They are doing good work and we look forward to their return at THES when the Forest Cove redevelopment is complete.”

Last December, the Atlanta Municipal Court condemned the deteriorating apartment complex and ordered the relocation of all Forest Cove families by March 1 and the demolition of the property by Sept. 22.

“THES has served this neighborhood since 1971 and is the bedrock of an invaluably strong school-community connection,” said Greg Giornelli, President of Purpose Built Schools. “We are confident that the parties to the Forest Cove redevelopment plan will rebuild the apartments over the next three years, and we expect to re-open THES within that timeframe.”

The decision to close THES and to rezone students in the Thomasville Heights neighborhood to Slater Elementary School requires the approval of the Atlanta Board of Education. The matter will be presented to the Board at its April board meeting, with a decision expected in May.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.