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Good and bad at Decatur schools

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com · 340-2432

Planner Bill Thomison of the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency said he and Director Eddie Hicks inspected most of Decatur’s schools last summer.

Some findings?

  • Decatur Heritage Christian Academy probably has the worst situation locally. Its upper school is a pre-fabricated metal building, while the lower school is a combination of portable classrooms on a slab.

    “Basically, we told them that if they had time, they should go home,” Thomison said. “And we didn’t even look at the portables.”

    Decatur Heritage Head Master Scott Mayo said the school is planning a new elementary building, which would include cement walls in the halls and restrooms for more protection. If he is unable to send students home, they go to the innermost part of the upper school.

  • “I think a lot of our older buildings (1960s era) were designed with economy in mind, not practicality,” said Austin High School Principal Don Snow.

  • Decatur’s most secure older schools are probably pod-style twins, Brookhaven and Oak Park middle schools.

    Built in 1971, they have few windows.

    “We look for areas with the most walls standing between the students and the outside,” Thomison said. “We generally stay away from doors and wide expanses. We don’t like hallways with doors at both ends that create a wind-tunnel effect.”

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