Five students have been arrested in connection with recent threats against local schools, and six more cases are under investigation Gwinnett County Public Schools officials say.
These are the top stories from the past week.
Gwinnett County Public Schools police arrest students in five recent threats against schools; additional cases remain under investigation
Gwinnett County Public Schools police have arrested five GCPS students in connection with threats made against schools on social media — and officers are investigating six more cases, district officials announced on Thursday.
The arrests, which school system officials are only saying were middle and high school students under the age of 17, come amid a rise in reports of threats being made against GCPS schools in the last week and a half. GCPS Police Chief Tony Lockhart announced the arrests during a press conference at Discovery High School, which was one of the schools that a threat was made against.
“(These are) not five individuals specifically, for example, Discovery High School,” Lockhart said. “(These were) different schools throughout the county.”
- By Curt Yeomans firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockhart said there have been a total of 13 reports of threats made against schools in the district in the last couple of weeks. GCPS police are working with the Gwinnett County Police Department’s Intelligence Unit to look into the threats, as well as with the Gwinnett District Attorney’s Office, which will prosecute the cases in Juvenile Court.
GCPS spokesman Bernard Watson said threats have been made against schools in the district since the beginning of the school year, but the increased interest in the threats now has to do with the uptick in reports.
“In the last seven to 10 days, we’ve seen a lot of them,” Watson said. “They happen frequently, but in the last seven to 10 days, there has been an increase.”
District officials are highlighting the arrests and noting that six more cases remain under investigation to highlight the fact that there are consequences for making threats against schools.
Of the five arrests that were made, Lockhart said they were determined to be hoaxes. Those students will still face serious charges.
“Terroristic threats, dissemination of information to a terroristic threat (are some of the charges they could face), and that could range from a misdemeanor to a felony,” he said.
In addition to the six threats that remain under investigation, there were two other threats made on social media that officials determined were actually made against schools in other states that have names similar to GCPS schools, such as a Hull Middle School in Massachusetts.
- By Curt Yeomans email@example.com
Discovery High School Principal Marci Sledge said a threat was made against her school on social media late Monday night. She emailed a letter to parents at 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday to let them know about the threat, and sent a follow up email later in the day to provide an update on the investigation into the threat.
“We had multiple students report (the threat) to teachers, and I had several parents reach out to me, so our students and teachers alerted us very quickly, which was very helpful,” Sledge. “We did not keep students out of school.”
Lockhart said the threat made against Discovery High School was made by a student at the school.
Sledge said Discovery officials were relieved that it was not a legitimate threat of violence, but she said it did cause concern. There are 2,750 students enrolled at Discovery, which also has 263 staff members, including about 185 teachers.
“It is very concerning because we do have to take every threat seriously,” Sledge said. “We can do some precursory investigation on our own, just trying to determine whether we can link it to specifically to a student, but honestly we leave the investigation to the experts, who certainly have far more resources and know how about how to investigate those specific threats.
“And, our role is just to make sure that we are giving them as much information as we can, communicating what we can to our parents and to our students and trying to continue forward if at all possible.”
Lockhart said the district’s police also take all of the threats being made against GCPS institutions seriously.
“A lot of the students, or the individuals that’s making the threat, they see that there’s been a threat at Mill Creek and the disruption that it’s caused, so ‘let’s play this prank and make a threat at another school,’ “ he said. “But, of course, whenever the threat comes in, we consider it valid and give it all of the attention that we have to to ensure that it is not a valid threat and then to make sure that the students at the school are safe.”
Return to www.gwinnettdailypost.com for updates.
As municipal election days arrives on Tuesday, Dacula and Braselton feature Gwinnett's only contested mayoral races
As voters in cities across Gwinnett County go to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will hold several offices, the residents of two of those cities will have to make a decision about who will hold the top job in their respective municipalities.
While 13 cities in Gwinnett have at least one contested race on their municipal election ballots, Braselton and Dacula are the only ones where a mayoral race will be among the contested races.
Braselton voters will decide who will succeed retiring Mayor Bill Orr, with councilman Hardy Johnson and attorney Kurt Ward vying for the seat.
Johnson and his wife moved to Braselton in 2013 after they retired, and he has spent four years serving on the City Council. He has also served on Braselton’s Downtown Development Authority, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation Cabinet, the NGMC Advisory Committee, executive council of the Northeast Georgia District Boy Scouts of America and the 5th District of the Georgia Municipal Association.
Johnson’s campaign website is www.Vote4Hardy.com.
Ward is an attorney who specializes in general counsel issues, litigation and estate planning, and his family has lived in Braselton since 2010. He has worked with 11 neighborhoods in the city address development proposals in their areas that they they were against. He has also been involved in a long list of organizations in the area.
Ward’s campaign website can be found at www.ElectKurt.org.
Dacula is in a different situation, however. This will be the first mayoral election held in the city since longtime former Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks died in January 2019. Current Mayor Trey King was appointed shortly after Wilbanks’ death to lead the city, but this will be his first time actually running for the office. King faces a challenge from business intelligence professional Wade Anthony.
In addition to being Dacula’s mayor, King also teaches chemistry at Collins Hill High School, a job he has held for 23 years. Prior to King being appointed to the mayor’s office by the City Council nearly three years ago, the Dacula Zoning Board of Appeals, the Dacula Planning Commission and the city’s Steering Committee for its 2030 Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
King’s campaign social media page can be found at www.facebook.com/TreyKingforMayor2021.
Meanwhile, Anthony is a native of Antigua and Barbuda whose family immigrated to the U.S. when he was 15 in the 1970s. He became a U.S. citizen in 1996. He is a co-founder of the Antigua and Barbuda Association of Georgia and helped raise funds for Junior Achievement and Partners for Care during his career. He has worked in in business intelligence for multiple companies throughout his career.
Anthony’s campaign website can be found at www.wadeanthony.org.
Sugar Hill was originally expected to have a contested mayoral race, but one of the two candidates for the office was disqualified after discrepancies and questions arose over whether she lived in the city or at least met the residency requirement to run for the office. That leaves councilman Brandon Hembree as the only remaining candidate for Sugar Hill’s mayoral seat.
But, the mayoral races will not be the only races to watch on Tuesday. Several cities across Gwinnett County have contested City Council races.
In Lawrenceville, voters will be asked to pick two new City Council members — one half of the council — to replace retiring councilmen Keith Roche and Bob Clark.
The candidates for Roche’s seat are Bruce Hardy and Marlene Taylor-Crawford while the candidates for Clark’s seat are Edwar Aviles-Mercedes, Katrina Fellows and Austin Thompson.
Auburn has three candidates, including incumbent council members Bill Ackworth and Robert L. Vogel III, running for two at large council seats. The third candidate in that race is Taylor Sisk.
Braselton councilwoman Peggy Slappey faces a re-election challenge from Richard Harper for one council seat while Jeff Gardner and James Murphy face off in another, open council race in the city.
Duluth also has two contested City Council races. Councilman Billy Jones faces a challenge from Lamar Doss for the Post 3 seat while Manfred Graeder, Brandon Odum and Ray Williams are running against each other for an open Post 4 seat.
Lilburn has two contested council seats. Incumbent Post 4 council member Emil Powella is facing a re-election challenge from Sherrie Villa. Meanwhile, Daniel J. Bollinger II, Michael F. Hart and Calum Lewis are running for an open Post 3 seat.
Former Loganville councilman Skip Baliles will become that city’s new mayor without facing a challenger in an open race. Meanwhile, seven candidates — Melanie Long, Terry Parsons, Shenia Rivers-Devine, Rosa D. Steele, Branden Whitfield, James Wilson and incumbent councilwoman Anne Huntsinger — are vying for three at large seats on the City Council.
Elsewhere, there will be one contested council race each in Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Snellville and Suwanee.
In Norcross, incumbent councilman Matt Myers faces a challenge from Sophie Gibson.
Peachtree Corners councilwoman Jeanne Aulbach will face Joe Sawyer in a rematch from four years ago in the District 4 race.
Snellville councilman Todd Warner is facing a re-election challenge of his own from Catherine Hardrick.
Meanwhile, Suwanee councilman Peter Charpentier will face Jonathan Marcantonio and David Martinez in his own re-election race.
And, while Sugar Hill’s mayoral race is no longer contested, it will have a pair of contested council races. Incumbent councilman Nicholas Greene will face Amber Chambers in the Post 4 race while Tiffany Hale Carter and Jenn Thatcher face each other in the open Post 3 race.
There is also one contested school board race — for a seat on the Buford City School Board — this year.
Lien Diaz and Kathleen Welch are facing each other in an open race for a seat on Buford’s municipal school board.
Central Gwinnett students help turn Oakland Meadow School student into Spider-Man for Halloween
As the old theme song goes, Spider-man can do anything a spider can.
He can spin webs that catch thieves like flies, he’s strong and he can swing through the air on a thread.
Oakland Meadow School student Jacob Mongtoya is getting a chance to test out those claims about Spider-Man after Central Gwinnett High Schools students helped turn him into the Marvel Comics hero for Halloween as part of the Magic Wheelchair program. Mongtoya got to reveal his costume to his classmates during a presentation at the school on Friday afternoon.
“This year’s Magic Wheelchair build is one of our most challenging and exciting builds to date,” Central Gwinnett teacher and Magic Wheelchair program leader Michael Tarver said in a statement before the unveiling. “Our students and advisors had many interesting engineering and logistical challenges to find solutions for.
“It is true every year that without the help of the visual arts department our builds would be missing the ‘magic’ in Magic Wheelchair, but this year in particular the visual art students and their teachers worked to make this our most magical build yet.”
Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that works to ensure children in wheelchairs get to have memorable Halloween costumes. Central Gwinnett’s theater and visual arts students have participated in the program for several years now. Each year, they build an elaborate costume for an Oakland Meadow School student that fits that student’s interests.
It didn’t hurt that Spider-Man, who was already popular from his comic book and animated television series, has enjoyed expanded popularity over the last 20 years due to a series of films starring various actors playing Spider-Man. The latest films, starring Tom Holland as the character, are part of the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
And, a new film in that franchise, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” is set to be released in theaters later this year.
Given the popularity of the films, and the fact that a new one is about to be released, it may not be too much of a surprise that Tarver said Central Gwinnett’s students jumped at the chance to envision the character for a wheelchair costume.
The costume is designed so Mongtoya is Spider-Man while the person pushing the wheelchair plays one of the hero’s enemies, Doc Ock. There are also two towers that travel separately from the piece of the costume that surrounds the wheelchair, but wires connect all three parts, transmitting power between them.
“Our students got very excited about Spider-Man, and really came up with an ambitious design,” Tarver said. “This is our first build that involved multiple different rolling structures. All three parts needed to be able to travel independently, but still have power and be able to communicate with each other. We told our students to dream big and they came through in a big way.”
Lawrenceville adds option for Gwinnett residents to recycle glass items at public works facility
Lawrenceville is offering Gwinnett County residents a new option to recycle glass products.
The city announced this week that it has established a drop-off glass recycling station at the city’s Pubic Works building. The station gives people, regardless of whether they live in the city, the ability to dispose of their used glass products during daylight hours.
“The City of Lawrenceville is pleased to offer our community a convenient option for glass recycling right here in Downtown Lawrenceville,” said Mayor David Still. “The City Council and I received the message that recycling is extremely important to our citizens. It saves energy, conserves natural resources, prevents pollution, and reduces the amount of waste sent to our landfills.”
The issue of glass recycling has existed since facilities designed to handle those options closed a few years ago, but took a new urgency after Hefty expanded its EnergyBag program into Gwinnett County earlier this year. The program is designed so residents can use special orange bags to collect their used glass products and dispose of them for recycling. Gwinnett and its cities were caught off guard by the program’s expansion into the county and officials initially had to tell residents not to put the bags out for recycling until a solution could be worked out on how to accept the items for recycling.
Gwinnett County established a glass recycling drop off site of its own earlier this month, but that is separate from the site Lawrenceville announced this past week.
The city is working with Latham Home Sanitation to transfer the glass items dropped off at the center to an offsite recycling center. Residents must rinse out the glass containers to remove all food and debris before the items are brought to the drop-off site. Lids must be removed and discarded separately.
Residents can visit the Public Works Building, which is located at 435 W. Pike St., between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on any day of the week and drop off the items in bins located under an awning in the facility’s parking lot. Food and beverage bottles, including jars, will be accepted at the site regardless of what color the glass is. The site has separate bins marked for dropping off clear glass items and colored glass items.
The city stressed that residents can not drop off broken glass, light bulbs, mirrors, televisions, window panes or car windshields at the site.
“As the county seat, Downtown Lawrenceville is a daily destination for thousands who work in the area,” Assistant City Manager Barry Mock said. “We welcome all who are interested in glass recycling to utilize this service. We saw the need in our community and our Public Works staff worked out the logistics to provide a solution.”
Residents who have questions about the glass recycling drop-off site can visit www.lawrencevilleutilities.com/recycling.
The new Norcross library branch's opening adds new amenity to city's downtown district
Norcross residents already have a variety of activities that they can do when they visit Lillian Webb Park.
They can toss a frisbee around, relax on a blanket, play in the park’s splash pad or socialize with friends.
They can now add checking out a library book, sewing a dress, making a 3D-printed item or practicing computer coding to that list.
Gwinnett County and Norcross officials formally opened the city’s new library at the edge of the park during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday. It was one of two libraries that the county partnered with a city on that has opened this year. The other library was the Duluth branch, which opened earlier this year.
“The new library here in Norcross will continue its tradition of providing fair and quality access to information. Information translates into knowledge. Knowledge is a stepping-stone on the path to a better future,” Norcross Mayor Craig Newton said. “We applaud both our Gwinnett County Commission and the Gwinnett Public Library System on your efforts in partnership with the city of Norcross in creating what is arguably the most unique library in the county.”
The library is a key piece of efforts to expand Norcross’ downtown district and bring revitalization to the Buford Highway corridor. The relocated Norcross branch, along with the Brunswick mixed-use development, form a bridge that connects the edge of Lillian Webb Park with Buford Highway, a corridor which Norcross recently unveiled plans to encourage redevelopment along.
But, county officials said the new library branch is not just intended to be an anchor to spur redevelopment. They also see it as a major community asset with multiple opportunities for children to learn and adults to gather and get creative or address local issues.
The branch includes 45 computer stations; sewing, crafting, coding and 3D printing spaces in learning labs; a game room; study rooms; and a community meeting room that can seat as many as 120 people among other amenities. There is also a outdoor plaza with seating and planters, as well as a staircase to allow people to access the library and the park from Buford Highway.
“Libraries improve quality of life and attract residents and businesses, and resources like the ones provided here create opportunity for the people who use them,” Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said. “I can’t wait to see the innovation that emerges from this space.”
Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees Chairwoman Wandy Taylor added, “Our libraries in Gwinnett County are the ‘hubs’ for community resources – and it is incumbent upon all of us to support these efforts for continued growth and innovation.”
Norcross and the county worked together on planning the library, from determining what resources it would have to reaching agreements on what it would look like. The branch’s construction was funded using special purpose local option sales tax monies.
“When governments work together for the benefit of our residents, great things happen,” Commissioner Ben Ku said. “This library project is an example of all of us to joining forces to provide the most satisfying government experience for our community.”
Gwinnett police ID Sandy Springs man found dead in vehicle near Lawrenceville
A Sandy Springs man has been identified as the person found dead in a vehicle in unincorporated Lawrencevile on Sunday.
Police found the body of Garcia Danielle Gaddis, 39, in the vehicle at the intersection of Pierce Brennan Drive and Tech Center Parkway shortly afternoon 2 p.m. on Sunday. They had been called to the scene on a report of a suspicious vehicle.
“At this time, a motive is not clear, and witnesses are encouraged to call GCPD Investigators or Atlanta Crime Stoppers with any helpful information,” Police Officer Senior Hideshi Valle said.
Anyone with information that may lead to the identification of anyone involved in Gaddis’ death is asked to call detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers, which lets tipsters remain anonymous, at 404-577-8477. They can also visit www.stopcrimeATL.com.
Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case. Tipsters are asked to reference case No. 21-086301.
Police seeking information on driver in fatal hit and run on Cruse Road
Gwinnett County police are looking for a driver who was involved in a fatal hit and run accident on Cruse Road in unincorporated Lawrenceville earlier this week.
Police Officer Senior Hideshi Valle said officers were called to a driveway at 2452 Cruse Road, which is just north of Paden Drive, on Sunday on a report that a man’s body was lying in the driveway.
“The victim had sustained life threatening injuries consistent with those of being hit by a vehicle which resulted in his death,” Valle said. “The investigation is on-going. “
Anyone who has information about the identity of the driver who hit the man, who has not yet been identified either, is asked to call the Gwinnett County Police Accident Investigation Unit at 678-442-5653 or Atlanta Crime Stoppers, which lets tipsters remain anonymous, at 404-577-8477. They can also visit www.stopcrimeATL.com. Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest and indictment.
Tipsters are asked to reference case No. 21-086207.
Two mixed-use developments planned near downtown Sugar Hill
Sugar Hill leaders approved a pair of mixed-use developments earlier this month that will add new residential areas, as well as new commercial spaces, near the city’s downtown area.
Public hearings on both projects were held on Oct. 11 and the requests were approved.
One of the developments was proposed by NGI Acquisitions LLC and would be located at Nelson Brogdon Boulevard and Stanley Street. The request was to rezone 29.2 acres from an assortment of zonings, including both residential and light industrial to mixed-use residential, office and commercial zonings.
It was proposed to include: 269 multi-family residences; 20 townhomes; a 6,250-square-foot, one-story office building; and four commercial buildings with a combined 31,000-square-feet of commercial space.
The commercial space would include two restaurants with driv-thru service windows, according to a proposal submitted to the city.
The proposal also included a dog daycare business, a medical office and spa-related businesses — such as beauty parlors, nail salon and a massage business — on the property.
“Accordingly, the proposed development is compatible with surrounding zoning classifications and land uses and is consistent with the policies of the (Comprehensive) Plan and the Downtown Master Plan,” attorney Shane Lanham wrote in the application. “The proposed development would also provide an appropriate transition of land use intensity from the more intense commercial and office along State Route 20 towards less intense single-family attached and detached residential uses to the north along Hillcrest Street.”
The other development, called “Sugar Bowl,” is proposed by Prestwick Development on 16.282 acres at 1450 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. It includes 154 multi-family residential units, 42 two-family attached homes (including 21 single bedroom homes and 21 three-bedroom rowhouses), 104 town homes and 2,000 square-feet of commercial space.
“The proposed development is envisioned as an urban project that provides a mixture of residential and commercial uses that will accommodate a variety of residents and users and is walking distance to the existing amenities in downtown Sugar Hill,” the developer wrote in its letter of intent to the city.
The letter sent to city officials outines that Sugar Bowl would have two mid-rise multi-family buildings on the eastern side of the property, overlooking Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The property would also have a lawn bowling court that would serve as a central gathering space for the development. There would also be a dog park, club house, pool, playgrounds and a portion of the Sugar Hill Greenway that the city has been working to develop.
It would be a significant change for the property which currently houses a vehicle salvage yard and is zoned for manufacturing, single family residential and agricultural uses.
Gwinnett County Public Schools' four-year graduation rate dropped during pandemic while five-year rate rose
Gwinnett County Public Schools saw its four-year graduation rate for 2021 drop by nearly a point from the preceding year, a decline that district officials are attributing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
GCPS’ graduation rate for the class of 2021 was 82.48%, compared to a 83.23% for the class of 2020. At the same time, district officials said members of the Class of 2020 who were unable to complete graduation requirements by May 2020 but later met those requirements by making up work in summer school or in school after the fact brought that class’ five-year graduation rate up to 86.28%.
“While our five-year graduation rate has increased during the pandemic, our district remains focused on improving its four-year rate,” GCPS Superintendent Calvin J. Watts said. “Our goal is to prepare each and every student for life after high school, equipping them with a diploma that will allow them to pursue their dreams.
“As a district, we must focus on creating the conditions and providing the supports that yield higher graduation rates and doing so in a manner that allows more students to graduate at the end of their four years of high school, so they are ready for college, career, and life.”
Georgia as a whole saw a similar decline to what was seen in Gwinnett County. The statewide four-year graduation rate for the class of 2021 was 83.7%, compared to 83.8% for the class of 2020.
Although GCPS as a whole saw its four-year graduation rate drop this year, there were actually eight schools in the district who increased their rates from 2020. Those schools were Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Meadowcreek, Mill Creek, Paul Duke STEM, Phoenix and South Gwinnett High Schools as well as the Gwinnett Online Campus.
Berkmar’s score increased from 77.6% in 2020 to 78.99% in 2021 while Central Gwinnett’s rate went from 77.03% to 78.61%; Meadowcreek’s rate went from 80.83% to 82.05%; Mill Creek’s rate went from 92.1% to 93.25%; Paul Duke’s rate went from 84.09% to 92.52%; Phoenix’s rate went from 15.52% to 19.18%; South Gwinnett’s rate went from 80.62% to 80.72% and the Gwinnett Online Campus’ rate went from 58.91% to 60.27%.
Paul Duke STEM principal Jonathon Wetherington, whose school posted the largest increase in GCPS, pointed to collaboration between the school’s teachers, administrators and counselors to focus on students needs, as well as a “supportive school culture.” as the reason for the school’s increase of 8.43 percentage points.
“We are excited about our students’ success and proud of how our entire school community worked to support our students,” Wetherington said. “Every member of our faculty and staff is committed to ensuring that our students graduate prepared for dynamic college and career opportunities, and we look forward to building upon last year’s success and providing all our students with a high-quality STEM experience.”
Meadowcreek principal Kevin Wood pointed to teachers treating students as partners in their education has helped his school continually raise its graduation annually since 2011.
“Our multiyear increase in graduation rate is a result of our dedicated teachers engaging students as partners in their learning through research-based academic programs offered by the school, such as the academy model,” Wood said. “Our teachers continue to work hard to ensure that students are successful and go on to the next phase in their lives well prepared for both college and careers.”
Meanwhile, Mill Creek Principal Jason Lane said school improvement was the reason why his school was able to raise its graduation rate in spite of the pandemic.
“We have been intentional with our processes and planning to continue the work of improving our graduation rate,” Lane said. “Graduation from high school is not a singular event, rather it is a process that takes the hard work and dedication of every staff member of our cluster schools from elementary, middle, and here at the high school. I am thankful and humbled by the dedication of our teachers, staff, and students at Mill Creek High School and this news is a reflection of this work.”
In all, GCPS saw 13 of its high schools post graduation rates that were higher than the state average for the class of 2021.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology led all GCPS schools with a four-year graduation rate of 99.56% for the class of 2021, down slightly from the 100% rate the school’s class of 2020 posted.
GSMST, Mill Creek, Paul Duke STEM, Archer, Brookwood, Dacula, Grayson, Lanier, McClure Health Sciences, Mountain View, North Gwinnett, Parkview and Peachtree Ridge high schools are the GCPS schools that exceeded the state four-year graduation rate. Of those schools, GSMST, Mill Creek, Paul Duke STEM, Brookwood, Grayson, Lanier, McClure Health Sciences and North Gwinnett high schools each had rates that exceeded 90%.
“These results are indicative of the level of commitment of our staff and of the perseverance of our students to achieve at high levels despite the challenges we face,” GCPS Associate Superintendent for School Improvement and Operations Al Taylor said. “We are very proud of our students, teachers, and staff for their efforts navigating these uncertain times while upholding the standard of excellence that defines our system of world-class schools.”
GCPS 2021 four-year graduation rates
|School||2021 Rate||2020 rate|
|Gwinnett Online Campus||60.27%||58.91%|
|McClure Health Science||93.94%||97.83%|
|Paul Duke STEM||92.52%||84.09%|
Northside Hospital wins appeal to open outpatient surgical center in Braselton
A state appeals panel has given Northside Hospital its blessing to build an outpatient surgery center in Braselton.
The Georgia Certificate of Need Appeal Panel decision is being hailed by the hospital system — which has hospital campuses in Lawrenceville and Duluth — as a win for patients in northeast Georgia. The Department of Community Health denied Northside’s Certificate of Need request to build the center in 2018 and the hospital system had been appealing the decision since then.
Georgia Department of Community Health Commissioner Caylee Noggle will have to rule on the panel’s decision before construction on surgery center can begin, however, according to Northside officials.
“We believe the availability of an outpatient surgery during a pandemic is critical,” said Debbie Mitcham, the president and CEO of Northside’s Gwinnett campuses. “As metropolitan Atlanta grows into Northeast Georgia, patients need a choice when it comes to meeting their surgical needs.”
Northside expects the 22,5000-square-foot surgery center will serve patients from across a 13-county region who currently have to drive to other Northside locations for outpatient surgery. The hospital system also expects about 3,400 patients will be served annually at the center.
Northside announced it is asking the Department of Community Health for a Certificate of Need permit to open an outpatient surgery center on Friendship Road in Hall County.
The center will be built in an existing facility on Friendship Road in southern Hall County, and have three operating rooms and one endoscopy room. Services offered at the center include orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology, general surgery and neurosurgery as well as other services. It will also have an extended recovery unit so complex surgical procedures can be performed there.
Lawrenceville adopts new downtown master plan to guide development for the next decade
Encouraging redevelopment on the outskirts of Lawrenceville’s existing downtown area.
Pushing for development along the new college corridor and the Lawrenceville Train Depot.
Expanding housing, retail and office options in the downtown area.
Creating a safe, multi-modal environment through road and trail projects.
Lawrenceville leaders approved these ideas on Monday as part of a five-to-10-year downtown master plan update that not only calls for the expansion of the downtown’s core footprint, but also renovations to existing downtown spaces. The plan will help guide development and redevelopment in Lawrenceville’s downtown district over the course of the 2020’s.
“As our downtown changes and evolves through the years, it is important for us to recenter our vision and in some cases, create a new vision for Gwinnett’s county seat,” City Manager Chuck Warbington said. “The Master Plan Update is a roadmap for the community as we work to resolve challenges and create new opportunities to benefit the City of Lawrenceville.”
Lawrenceville’s updated plan is focused on four principles: encouraging connectivity with a safe, multi-modal environment; expanding the retail, office and housing options in downtown; undertaking placemaking initiatives to preserve Lawrenceville’s character; and creating “a downtown for all ages.”
City leaders began gathering public input in December 2020 through online activities, interactive public meetings and Core Team meetings.
What came out of that planning process were ideas for how to use land, create placemaking opportunities, foster economic development, address mobility and connectivity as well as make transportation improvements within the next five years.
One area the city included in the plan is an expansion of its downtown Livable Centers Initiative boundaries to include: development along the college corridor and around the Lawrenceville Train Depot; redevelopment around Central Gwinnett High School; redevelopment around Paper Mill Road and redevelopment along Grayson Highway.
The plan also looks forward to the later half of the 2020’s, with the five-to-10-year portion of it establishing an action plan that will guide the city in the areas of land use, housing, transportation and placemaking.
One of the longterm ideas includes extending the downtown character area of storefronts, which currently ends at Buford Drive eastward along East Crogan Street to the point where East Pike Street splits off from it near the entrance to Rhodes Jordan Park. Town homes and a small grocery store could also be a part of this area of redevelopment according to the city’s draft plan.
“The proforma analysis determined that both multi-family and for-sale town homes, in addition to commercial space, could be included to make the redevelopment feasible,” the draft copy of the master plan stated. “This level of intensity would compliment surrounding uses including the Lawrenceville Lawn and newer adjacent development and could set the tone for additional redevelopment to the north. The challenge will be to assemble the necessary properties in a timely and cost efficient manner.”
A gateway “parklet,” as well as commercial redevelopment and town homes, are proposed at the northeast corner of East Pike Street and Buford Drive.
A major mixed-use redevelopment is proposed for the corner of South Clayton and Nash Street, where a shopping center currently sits, to include multi-family residential, office and commercial uses.
“The proforma analysis determined that a high level of intensity of new development on site would be necessary to make the redevelopment feasible,” the draft master plan stated. “While the amount of development shown ... and the corresponding leasing rates are feasible, the site acquisition cost assumption in the analysis may be conservative, given the continuing increases in land costs. Higher land cost likely would push this scenario into (the) ‘marginally feasible’ range and prompt the necessity of public sector incentives if the project is an economic development priority.”
The plan also calls for a trail connection between the college corridor and Rhodes Jordan Park and the “activation” of Honest Alley with outdoor cafes and public art to make it more of a pedestrian-friendly area.
Another suggestion from the draft master plan presented to the City Council was to make Crogan and Pike Streets two-way routes at the Lawrenceville Square, similar to what the city did with the entirety of Perry Street and South Clayton Street, south of the square, a few years ago.
There are also ideas for doing streetscaping with sidewalks and medians that include trees along Buford Drive, Scenic Highway, East Crogan Street and Grayson Highway.
“The City Council and I are grateful to the community volunteers, contractors, and staff who have spent almost a year dedicated to completing this task with excellence and look forward to sharing the final document with the public,” Mayor David Still said. “The support of all those invested in the community will ultimately make elements of this plan a reality.”
- Domestic incidents are highly dangerous for police officers, experts say
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources Career Academy offers career possibilities for high schoolers
- Trailer carrying about 100 monkeys crashes in Pennsylvania. One monkey is on the loose
- Stunning find discovered hiding in the ocean's 'twilight zone'
- Bitcoin value tumbles almost 50% since record November
- Duluth police arrest employee at Shell gas station where illegal gambling allegedly took place
- There will be no trash or recycling pickups in unincorporated Gwinnett on Monday; service will be delayed one day throughout week
- Winter weather advisory issued for Gwinnett as snow, ice anticipated on Sunday
- After years of planning, Gwinnett will open new Harbins Road interchange at State Route 316 on Tuesday
- Teen killed by vehicle turning into parking space in Snellville, police say
- CEO of MARTA, Atlanta transportation service, dies by suicide
- Man involved in standoff with Gwinnett SWAT officers at Norcross-area apartment complex arrested early Tuesday
- GDOT warning residents to stay off roadways on Sunday night and Monday morning because of black ice fears
- Five Gwinnett football players among early entrants into NFL Draft
- Kyle Parrott
- Weekly Gwinnett County restaurant health inspections for Jan. 16, 2022
- PHOTOS: Gwinnett Animal Shelter Adoptable Pets of the Week —Jan. 17
- ON THE MARKET: This modern farmhouse in Sugar Hill features fully-appointed apartment above detached garage
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Top Gwinnett County stories from Jan. 10-16
- WANTED IN GWINNETT: Week of Jan. 17
- PHOTOS: Snow Day scenes from Gwinnett County
- GET OUT THERE: 5 things to do this weekend in Gwinnett County —Jan. 21-23
- PHOTOS: Scenes from the Georgia Gwinnett College 2022 Spring Nurse Dedication ceremony
- PHOTOS: UGA National Championship Parade in Athens
- Most popular girl names in the 70s in Georgia
Find a local business
POLL: It's been exactly one year since President Biden took office. Do you think he is doing a good job?
This is not a scientific poll — results reflect only the opinions of those voting.