Heavy rains and the discovery of “essentially a landfill” at the new Austin Elementary School’s construction site in Dunwoody Park means the opening of the school is being delayed five months to January 2020, according to a DeKalb Schools report.

An aerial view of the new Austin Elementary School site shows where DeKalb Schools say trash and other materials were buried. (DCSD)

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 with the council agenda.

The report states Austin Elementary’s opening is being delayed from August 2019 to January 2020. The 5-month delay also means redistricting will be postponed for one year, according to the report.

The new Austin Elementary is being built on about 10 acres of Dunwoody Park, where the Dunwoody Senior Baseball fields were located.

“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,” the report states.
Austin Elementary students will move to the new building over Christmas break for a partial opening in January 2020. Redistricted students will not attend the new school until August 2020, according to the report.
The DeKalb County School District and the city of Dunwoody reached an agreement in 2016 for the city to sell the park land to DCSD for $3.6 million. The school district will then hand over to the city the 9.8-acre site the current Austin Elementary School sits on after the new school is open. Future community input from Dunwoody residents will be sought to determine what to do with that property.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.