DeKalb County School District says there is no doubt the new Austin Elementary School will be located on Roberts Drive.
“We are exploring options for sites on Roberts Drive in close proximity to the existing school,” said DeKalb schools spokesperson Quinn Hudson. Because finding a new location deals with real estate, the system is not allowed to comment further, he added.
DeKalb Superintendent Stephen Green has stated publicly several times the school will be located on Roberts Drive, near its current location. But where that site will be exactly remains unknown.
The city of Dunwoody has been in talks with the school system, but is also keeping mum on where the school may be located.
“The city has previously spoken with representatives from DeKalb County Schools and offered assistance as the school system tries to fulfill their commitment for keeping Austin on Roberts Drive,” said spokesperson Bob Mullen. “Exact determination on a site for a new school has not been announced by DeKalb County Schools. The city anticipates more information from DeKalb County Schools forthcoming.”
Discussions of locating the school on the baseball fields at Dunwoody Park have long been part of the community’s discussions of where to construct Austin Elementary.
Mayor Denis Shortal said at his Feb. 25 State of the City address said he supported local control of the city’s schools and mentioned the ongoing debate of where Austin Elementary would be located.
“If we had control of our schools there would be no debate. That school would be rebuilt right where it’s at. End of story,” he said.
The new Austin Elementary School, currently proposed to be a 900-student building, is expected to open in August 2018. The new school is being funded with taxes raised when voters approved a 2011 E-Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
In 2011, Dan Drake, director of planning and forecasting for the DeKalb County School System, said state guidelines could mean that Austin may not be rebuilt on its current site.
“There were really kind of three issues with that site. One is the size — 14 acres is what the state likes to see as a minimum,” Drake said at the time. “The second is the high tension power lines. And under the high tension power lines, there is a high pressure petroleum pipeline.”