News Briefs: Amtrak to Nashville?; Mighty Mo revamp; Pace Academy expansion

An empty Hulsey Yard (Courtesy CBS46)

WKRN in Nashville is reporting that Amtrak has proposed a new commuter train line from Music City to Atlanta. The proposed rail line would include stops in Murfreesboro, Tullahoma and Chattanooga in addition to stops in Georgia. The trip would take around  six and a half hours, which is two hours longer than driving by car. Rumors are rife on community message boards that Amtrak is negotiating with CSX to buy or lease 70-acre Hulsey Yard for a new terminal. INtown has been unable to confirm this or another rumor that CSX plans to reactivate Hulsey Yard due to overflow at its other facilities.  Located along DeKalb Avenue, Hulsey Yard was  shuttered last spring when CSX moved operations to its Fairburn depot. The Amtrak announcement comes at interesting time, since the Atlanta City Council voted Monday to encourage CSX to “consider the future needs of the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Beltline, and the surrounding community as they begin the process for the sale of Hulsey Yard.” Neighborhoods that touch Hulsey Yard, including Old Fourth Ward, Cabbagetown, Inman Park and Reynoldstown have collectively worked to create a mixed-use community master plan for the train yard should CSX decide to sell. UPDATE: CSX confirmed late Friday that it plans to reactivate Hulsey Yard in April for its freight operations. Read the update at this link.

The Fox Theatre’s historic, century-old Moeller Organ – affectionately known as “Mighty Mo” – is undergoing refurbishment including touch ups to its ornately painted exterior as well as critical internal improvements, such as its wiring, horseshoe and harness, as well as other needed mechanism additions. Expected to be complete by late 2020, the project is being conducted by Lithonia-based A.E. Schlueter Organ Pipe Company. The Schlueter team, alongside Organist and Project Manager Ken Double, spent six months constructing an interim, stand-in console to ensure Fox Theatre audiences an authentic experience while Mighty Mo undergoes needed work.

A rendering of the Kam Memar Lower School.

Pace Academy has launched Accelerate Pace, a $50-million capital campaign to construct the Kam Memar Lower School and restore and renovate the school’s iconic “Castle” on West Paces Ferry Road. Construction on the Kam Memar Lower School, a 36,500-square-foot addition to the school’s existing Lower School classroom building, began in January 2020 and will open in August 2021. Work on the Castle will begin shortly thereafter. Diana and Bijon Memar, current Pace Academy parents, contributed Accelerate Pace’s lead gift in memory of Bijon’s late brother, Kam Memar, founder of Medac. Conceived by tvsdesign and residential designer William T. Baker, the three-story Kam Memar Lower School will include classrooms for STEAM and design; an expanded Academic Resource Center; soundproof spaces for music and strings programs; administrative offices and large meeting rooms; and an indoor gymnasium. In addition, Pace Academy will renovate spaces within its Lower School classroom building, including the cafeteria and library. Planning is in the early stages for the restoration and renovation of the Castle, the former home, constructed in 1931, that served as the school’s original classroom building in 1958. Accelerate Pace will modernize the aging structure’s interior spaces while preserving its iconic facade and will accommodate academic endeavors in spaces specifically designed for robotics and STEAM programs. For more information, visit paceacademy.org.

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