Austin Elementary facing construction delay

DeKalb County School District’s newest elementary school won’t be ready for its originally scheduled opening day.

Austin Elementary School, a new 900-seat school, has a five-month delay mostly due to unsuitable soil on the site that the school will sit on, according to DCSD officials at the Aug. 27 Dunwoody city council meeting.

The school’s new building will be located at the former Dunwoody Park, 5321 Roberts Drive in Dunwoody.

The building, which was scheduled to be completed in June 2019 with an August 2019 opening, is now scheduled to be complete in November 2019 with a January 2020 opening.

With the school opening in the 2019-2020 second semester, the redistricting for the school district process will occur fall 2019 instead of fall 2018. Redistricting is scheduled to be complete and effective for fall 2020 instead of fall 2019.

Existing Austin Elementary students will move to the new building during the 2019 Christmas break, for a partial opening. Redistricted students will not attend the school until August 2020.

The district would need all of January 2020 to move all materials out of the existing Austin Elementary School. The district will also turn over the old elementary building to the city of Dunwoody.

“Our goal is to get this building open and have the students in there as soon as possible,” design and construction director of DCSD Richard Boyd said. “This is something we’ve done multiple times with other elementary schools.”

Trees and construction debris from the previous park’s baseball fields were found during excavation for the foundation for the building.

“We actually had to haul out 13,016-cubic yards of unsuitable materials and trash,” Boyd said. “We then had to bring in that same amount of dirt also.”

The unsuitable soil contributed to 99 days of the delay. Another major contribution to the construction delay was the excessive amount of rain Georgia had this year.

The 60.72-inches of rain in the past six months contributed 34 days to the delay, according to DCSD.

The school district submitted a construction noise ordinance application the city of Dunwoody on Aug. 27, asking for a shift in construction start times from 7 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.

In the application, DCSD officials also asked for a 3 a.m. start time for concrete pours. The construction calls for up to 12 pours in a six-month span, resulting in two to three pours per month.

Dates for concrete pouring have not been set.

According to the school district officials, the 3 a.m. start time was set to not contribute to rush hour traffic on Roberts Drive with large cement trucks.

The construction site is near a residential area.

DCSD has a $21.8 million contract with Nix-Fowler Constructors to build the elementary school. The school district also paid $3.6 million for the school’s land.

Construction for the building started in November 2017.


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