Category Archives: Trailers

New Doraville Elementary School – Update

The Approved Cross Keys Redistricting Plan resulted in the reduction of approximately 15 trailer classrooms in the Cross Keys Cluster.
Unfortunately, Dresden Elementary and Cary Reynolds Elementary still have a combined 42 portable classroom units on their grounds today.

The 2017-2022 E-SPLOST Project List includes two new elementary schools along the Buford Hwy.
Elementary School Capacity Additions
1. Build new John Lewis ES (900 FTE plus land purchase): $30.0M
2. Build new ES for Cross Keys North (900 FTE plus land purchase): $30.0M

Yesterday the DeKalb County Board of Education approved approximately $8.2 million for the sales and purchase of a 9.7 acre apartment complex at 3630 Shallowford Road in Doraville. DeKalb Schools plans to build its new Doraville Elementary School in 2018.
The new campus will primarily provide relief to Dresden Elementary and Cary Reynolds Elementary.
Monetary incentives will be offered jointly by the apartment complex owners and DCSD to help residents relocate by the end of August. To allow construction of the new 900-seat elementary school by the fall 2020 opening date, current tenants will be provided financial incentives to encourage them to relocate using incentives based on the type of lease in place (month-to-month versus a longer term). However, no tenant will be required to move out of their apartment prior to the expiration of their lease.

Superintendent Stephen Green

Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

“We are excited to add a state-of-the-art elementary school that will get our students out of portable units and into permanent classrooms, which is always our aim. At the same time, we are mindful of the impact this work will have on families, many of whom have children enrolled in our schools. We plan to be good neighbors through this delicate process.”

DeKalb Schools buys property for new school; hundreds at Doraville complex to be displaced
June 14, 2017 – The DeKalb County School District late Monday approved the purchase of a Doraville apartment complex, where they hope to build a new elementary school to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster of schools.
The purchase of 3630 Shallowford Road will displace dozens of families in the 104-unit Shallowford Garden Apartments, giving them until the end of August to find new housing.

Apartment property in Doraville purchased for elementary school
June 14, 2017 – DeKalb County School District (DCSD) announced the purchase of 9.7 acres on 3630 Shallowford Road in Doraville on June 13 for the purpose of building a 900-seat Cross Keys-area elementary school, garnering mixed responses from the public.
The property is currently the site of Shallowford Gardens Apartments, a 104-unit complex offering one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 626 to 825 square feet. The majority of residents are served by DCSD’s Cary Reynolds Elementary, Sequoyah Middle and Cross Keys High schools.
The apartment complex is located less than a mile from a MARTA station and serves a population typical of Buford Highway, many of whom are low-income and non-English speaking.

Displaced Doraville apartment residents speak out
Lease holders were informed at a public meeting held at First Baptist Church of Doraville on June 14 that they will receive a $2,250 incentive to move. At the meeting, former owner and seller John Lantz said legal action would be taken if tenants do not find lodging elsewhere.
“Two and a half months is more than adequate,” Lantz said.
At the meeting, DCSD director of planning Dan Drake said the school district considered more than a dozen other sites for the future Doraville elementary school. Drake did not name other properties considered.
According to residents of Shallowford Gardens—many of whom have been there for more than a decade—say the process is unjust.

City Building Permits For The School District

Many jurisdictions in Metro Atlanta seem to clearly know they are in charge of compliance with their local codes and vigorously perform that task. I’m not sure why others shirk that responsibility.

Georgia Department of Education (GA DOE) Guideline for Educational Facility Construction 160-5-4-.16(a) says, “Temporary educational facilities must meet all applicable state and local building codes and must have a separate certificate of occupancy for each building.”
Atlanta Public Schools has a document, “APS Design Guidelines v2.10 A Planning Guide for Construction and Renovation of School Facilities“, dealing with school construction. Appendix B is “City of Atlanta, Building Permitting Procedures and Guidelines for Educational Facilities.” This document discusses how to be compliant with the City’s local building codes.  Atlanta Public Schools states that “The Architect should allow at least 3 months from the time that the final drawings are submitted for review to the issuance of the permit. A preliminary review by a Plan Reviewer is a necessity to ensure that the process will run smoothly and that all code requirements have been addressed.”
DeKalb County
DeKalb County also issues permits to DeKalb schools for facilities in the unincorporated area.
Decatur certainly enforces local building codes.  In Decatur, the school system must go before the City Council to even place a trailer on school property. Earlier this month, the Decatur School District went to the their council to REQUEST PERMISSION to add trailers to one of their schools inside the city limits of Decatur. Before the City of Decatur would approve the trailers, they wanted to know:

  • Whether the proposed use is suitable in view of the use and development of adjacent and nearby property.
  • Whether the proposed use adversely affects the existing use or usability of adjacent or nearby property.
  • Whether the proposed use results in a use which will or could cause an excessive or burdensome use of existing streets, transportation facilities, utilities or other public facilities.
  • Whether there is adequate ingress and egress to the subject property, including evaluation of the traffic impact of the proposed use relative to street capacity and safety of public streets and nearby pedestrian uses.
  • Whether there are other existing or changing conditions which, because of their impact on the public health, safety, morality and general welfare of the community, give supporting grounds for either approval or disapproval of the proposed use.

Until just recently, Dunwoody hasn’t performed inspections or issued Certificates of Occupancy for DeKalb Schools in years. I asked DeKalb Schools Chief Operating Office Joshua Williams to help me understand how things are going to work in Dunwoody.

Joshua Williams
DeKalb Schools, Chief Operating Officer

“Under a new arrangement (via a Memorandum of Understanding), the City of Dunwoody will still be responsible for issuing land disturbance permits, building permits, and the certificates of occupancy.
The DeKalb County School District will hire a third-party professionally certified engineering and inspection firm to perform the building plan reviews and inspections which were previously conducted by the City of Dunwoody.”
–Joshua Williams

The City of Dunwoody has taken a hands-off approach when dealing with building permits and facilities code compliance with the school district. After it was exposed that school facilities were missing Certificates of Occupancy, the City and the School District started to discuss how to address this problem. Out of those discussions, the City approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Dunwoody and the DeKalb Board of Education. I believe the superintendent signed this MOU without notifying the board. I’m seeking clarity on that part.
Furthermore, I’m not sure why the City and school district need an MOU when other jurisdictions seem to clearly know they are in charge of compliance with their local codes and vigorously perform that task.