Construction and installation of new trailers at Dunwoody High School has resumed after the city halted the work because they said the DeKalb County School District did not have the proper permit.
Community Development Director Richard McLeod said the city issued the school district a land disturbance permit on July 10, allowing crews to continue work on the trailers. McLeod stopped work on the trailers on July 8 because DeKalb Schools did not have the permit, he said.
Two new portable quads, totaling 8 classrooms, were placed at DHS between July 1-5, according to DeKalb Schools. Before now, the city has never required the school district obtain a permit to construct trailers, the school district said in a statement.
The site of the new trailers over the Independence Day holiday, including one trailer balancing on concrete blocks standing on a sidewalk, angered some residents and City Council members. McLeod said work crews have agreed to move the trailer off the sidewalk as part of obtaining the permit.
DeKalb Schools has been adding trailers to DHS for several years to try to alleviate overcrowding, creating an ongoing controversy between the city and school district.
At the July 8 City Council meeting, Mayor Denis Shortal and council members expressed anger and disappointment that DeKalb Schools installed the new trailers without obtaining a permit from the city.
“They’ve broken every rule they could,” Councilmember Lynn Deutsch said.
In a statement, DeKalb Schools said the city has never requested or required an permit to construct trailers before asking for one in May.
Two years ago, the city and DeKalb Schools entered into a memorandum of understanding with the following provisions: the county fire marshal will inspect and certify fire code compliance in trailers and buildings; the city will review land disturbance permits; an engineer hired by DeKalb Schools will design, inspect and certify construction permitting compliance; and the city will issue certificates of occupancy after all other steps are completed successfully.
The state Board of Education has authority over all school construction projects, including trailers, according City Attorney Bill Riley. Riley also said the state Board of Education has the authority to waive any of its rules.
The City Council has asked city staff to set up a meeting with a state Board of Education representative to answer questions about construction and code enforcement