Tonight, the Fulton County School Board will vote on the demolition of the Meadows Operations Center at 5270 Northfield Blvd. in South Fulton. Councilwoman Rosie Jackson opposes the demolition and is calling for the community to join her in speaking out.
Jackson and five other members of South Fulton’s City Council voted in favor of resolution 2019-009 in February to acquire and redevelop the Meadows Operation Center, a Fulton County Schools facility adjacent to Heritage Elementary in the Old National area. According to the resolution, the city desired to revive it to curtail crime and make it a source of pride for the community.
The city listed several potential uses for the building in the resolution, including a satellite police precinct, food pantry and a destination for educational programs and athletic activities for children.
“What we want to do is bring the children off the street and into a safe haven where they can learn, and put their energies to other uses other than wreaking havoc in the community,” said Councilwoman Jackson.
According to documentation from Fulton County Schools, staff has recommended the demolition of the Meadows Operations Center and the Jo Wells Education Center citing disrepair and capital renewal needs in excess of $7 million. They are also recommending partial reclamation and reuse of the properties to serve the adjacent schools, to ensure consistent use.
Jackson says news of the vote to demolish the building came as a surprise. She said that South Fulton’s city manager and attorney had been at work to come to an agreement with Fulton County Schools to secure the property.
Nearly a dozen community members joined her today at the property site in support, including Paulette Thweatt, president of membership with the Old National Merchants Association. Thweatt, who recently toured the facility, said that she doesn’t think much work will be needed to transform it into a youth center, which she says is much-needed.
“What we’re trying to do is build our community up,” said Thweatt. “We have to reach our kids in order to build a better future for our community.”
In October 2013, the Fulton County School Board voted to purchase and renovate two buildings to house the majority of the district’s administrative operations. As a result, operations at five facilities in South Fulton, including the Meadows center, and one in North Fulton were consolidated based on a facility condition assessment. At the time, the cost to renovate all six buildings was estimated at $56 million. According to the school district, once decommissioned, the buildings and land could be sold or repurposed for district use.
Public comment during tonight’s school board meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the South Learning Center at 4025 Flat Shoals Road.