Delay in New Austin ES Opening

New Austin ES estimated opening: January 2020

The DeKalb Schools Operations Division was informed last week that they are experiencing a delay in the opening of the new Austin ES.

As a result of the unforeseen discovery of buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface of the school site, excessive rain over the past six months, and a slight delay in proving a notice to proceed, the opening of the new Austin ES is now 147 days behind in the projected completion date, which has now shifted from a June 9, 2019, substantial completion date to November 21, 2019. This has shifted the opening of the school from August 2019 (start of the first semester of 2019-2020 SY) to January 2020 (start of the second semester of 2019-2020 SY).

Based on this delay, here are the implications:

• Redistricting process will be delayed one year: the process will occur in Fall 2019 (instead of Fall 2018) and the redistricting will be effective for Fall 2020 (instead of Fall 2019).

• The Austin ES existing school will move to the new building over Christmas break (2019-2020) for a partial (only existing Austin ES students) opening in January 2020. The redistricted students would then attend the new Austin ES in August 2020.

• DeKalb Schools will communicate with the City of Dunwoody regarding:

  1. Requesting a variance from their noise ordinance to allow construction to start at 6:30 AM Monday-Friday and 7:30 AM on Saturdays. DCSD will also request a 3:00 AM start for concrete pours for 8-10 specific days (similar to how we were allowed these hours from DeKalb County for Peachrest ES and Fernbank ES).
  2. Discuss the implications of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on the use of the existing Austin ES (which we are leasing back from the City)

The Operations Division is bringing a September 10th Board agenda item that will include a change order for the additional costs of the unforeseen discovery of buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface of the school site and the formalization of the schedule change.


8/27/2018 – UPDATE

Dan Drake, interim chief officer with DeKalb Schools, is slated to give an update and report on the construction on the new 900-seat elementary school at the Dunwoody City Council’s Aug. 27 meeting. His report is posted online: https://onbase.dunwoodyga.gov:8081/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/CITY_COUNCIL_MEETING_1867_Agenda_Packet_8_27_2018_6_00_00_PM.pdf?meetingId=1867&documentType=AgendaPacket&itemId=0&publishId=0&isSection=false

UNSUITABLE SOILS – During site work activities, it was discovered that the baseball fields were essentially a landfill that contained buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface. In all, a total of 13,016 cubic yards of unsuitable material and trash was excavated and removed from the site.

REDISTRICTING – The redistricting process will be delayed one year: the process will occur in the Fall 2019 (instead of Fall 2018) and the redistricting will be effective for Fall 2020 (instead of Fall 2019). Existing Austin ES students will move to the new building over Christmas break (2019-2020) for a partial opening in January 2020. Redistricted students will not attend the new Austin ES until August 2020.


Related Posts

Austin Elementary School
Replacement Project Update

May 8, 2017 – The project is currently in the final design phase where all of the building and site elements are being detailed for construction.

Peachtree Middle School Ball Fields

Austin Rebuild – Approved by BOE
October 5, 2016 – On Monday, the DeKalb Schools Board unanimously approved an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for the purchase, sale and exchange of land with the City of Dunwoody. After everything is said and done, DeKalb Schools will pay the City of Dunwoody $3.6 million.

Austin ES Rebuild
Dunwoody Senior Baseball Fields

October 1, 2016 – As reported by Dunwoody Senior Baseball, the plan is to rebuild Austin Elementary at the site of the senior baseball fields and move Senior Baseball to some of the fields at Peachtree Charter Middle School.

19 responses to “Delay in New Austin ES Opening

  1. Would like the honest truth for once instead of “excessive rain” and “buried trash”.

  2. So in other words . . instead of sticking with August 2018 redistricting, taking effect Fall 2019, and inconveniencing some Dunwoody kids by putting in a few extra trailers at Austin for 6 months, we are going to inconvenience the entire rest of the district and keep everyone else in trailers.

  3. Was there no soils report done for the site? I’ve never known a structural engineer to start designing a foundation system without asking for (and getting) a soils report. Soil bearing capacity is calculated by punching a series of actual borings across the building footprint of the building to determine the type and quality of soil beneath the surface. Any “bad soil” or buried trash/organics should show up during this process.
    Not sure why this wasn’t known from the Geotech’s Site Report before the first line was drawn.

  4. Where can we find the information on redistricting? What areas will be affected?

  5. Redistricting – The redistricting process will begin in Fall 2019 and go into effect Fall 2020. Various attendance zones over the last couple of years have been redistricted. The district’s process has been relatively comprehensive. So, we’ll cross that bridge next Fall.

  6. Dunwoody Diva

    This is most likely just delay #1.
    Look for more delays with the school not being ready until March or April 2019 most likely or even later.
    The construction company probably has no incentive to move the building right along.
    I doubt the county is giving bonuses for meeting benchmark dates therefore, no rush:(
    Redistricting talks should start this Fall.
    This will be a “hot button” issue for many in Dunwoody so the arguments, editorials, t-shirts, protests etc. need to get going as soon as possible(insert sarcasm here).

  7. Another failure of DeKalb schools to do due diligence before launching into a construction project – Austin, Pleasantdale, Smokerise SPLOST IV and SPLOST V: the 3 new high school additions with glaring issues before they even begin but the district will press on.

  8. Remember that the District will press on without Chief Operations Officer Joshua Williams.

    Dan Drake may do a fine job as his replacement, but IMO the Construction division of Operations needs more staff. Even losing 1 person has consequences.

    As AB pointed out, DSCD Operations not only has the $561 Million in SPLOST V projects, they still have significant SPLOST IV projects that should have been finished years ago.

  9. Dan Drake, interim chief officer with DeKalb Schools, is slated to give an update and report on the construction on the new 900-seat elementary school at the Dunwoody City Council’s Aug. 27 meeting. His report is posted online: https://onbase.dunwoodyga.gov:8081/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/CITY_COUNCIL_MEETING_1867_Agenda_Packet_8_27_2018_6_00_00_PM.pdf?meetingId=1867&documentType=AgendaPacket&itemId=0&publishId=0&isSection=false

    UNSUITABLE SOILS – During site work activities, it was discovered that the baseball fields were essentially a landfill that contained buried trees, trash and other organics below the surface. In all, a total of 13,016 cubic yards of unsuitable material and trash was excavated and removed from the site.

    REDISTRICTING – The redistricting process will be delayed one year: the process will occur in the Fall 2019 (instead of Fall 2018) and the redistricting will be effective for Fall 2020 (instead of Fall 2019). Existing Austin ES students will move to the new building over Christmas break (2019-2020) for a partial opening in January 2020. Redistricted students will not attend the new Austin ES until August 2020.

  10. @David S — very well articulated – that was my point without facts/evidence of what it actually should have been (a soils report).
    Someone dropped the ball, and now they want more money.
    and Joshua Williams now running to City of Atlanta – what a scam.

  11. DSW2Contributor

    Dunwoody Diva “The construction company probably has no incentive to move the building right along.”
    ——————————————
    My suggestion: Make the contractor and their Palace supervisors wear Chambee HS’s “Don’t Be No Pussy” T-shirts until they are back to the original schedule:
    https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/mom-questions-chamblee-high-school-football-teams-dbnp-t-shirts/85-587093915

  12. Yeah, tell the contractor not to monkey around

  13. In the latest Monthly Status Report of the school system’s Capital Improvement Program (July 31, 2018), the Austin ES project (501-422) is listed as being under budget and ahead of schedule. Now, just 24 days later, because of bad dirt and “six months of excessive rain,” we’re being told that the project is 147 days behind schedule.
    How do you get 5 months behind in less than a month?

  14. The district said they were just informed. Jim Redovian is on the SPLOST oversight committee. He would be a good person to hit up. The Austin ES Construction Advisory Committee would also be a good group to contact.

  15. I have learned that a soils report was done, but it wasn’t as thorough as apparently needed. Moving forward they are spending the money and doing more sampling.

  16. Stan, What can be done to get the district to do due diligence with a thorough set of feasibility studies for each building project so that unnecessary funds aren’t spent? First the Smokerise plans taht had to be modified, scrapped and land purchased, then Austin scrapped and a land swap…and Pleasantdale…and now Austin again in their new location…..how are stakeholders expected to believe the district has done their due diligence related to Cross Keys, Dunwoody, LHS, Clarkston, CCHS, etc?

  17. DSW2Contributor

    AB, I thought the Pleasantdale project was going well and had not heard of any “unnecessary funds” being spent on it — what are you referring to?

    DSCD and Dekalb County did swap land so that the new Pleasandale School will actually be on Pleaasantdale Road, which makes more sense than how it is now. The old building is still being used while the new school is being built, so DCSD is not wasting money busing everyone to a temporary school. What am I missing?

  18. @ DSW – You aren’t missing anything other than that is was a SPLOST IV project and SPLOST IV started in 2012. It’s 2018, SPLOST V and still we don’t have a new Pleasantdale? What was the plan for the new school when the district put it on the SPLOST ballot asking taxpayers to approve it? The school district negotiated for 2 years for the land swap and the County Commissioners approved it in Dec. 2017 – after SPLOST V started! So what happened between 2012 and 2015…what would have happened if they couldn’t seal the land swap deal? Why did they end up needing a land swap? What feasibility was done before putting it on the ballot? Poor planning…

  19. David S,

    The operations department has gotten bad soil and subsurface reports for almost every project because they have always contracted with the same engineering firm to do the work. Please, ask Jim Redovian, how many times the oversight committee has asked Joshua Williams to get a different engineering firm. Mr. Williams kept awarding the work to his friends and the work was wrong. The new Barack Obama E.S. was delayed for the same reason.

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