Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dunwoody and DeKalb County Board of Education Authorize Purchase, Sale, and Real Estate Exchange Agreement

Dunwoody, GA October 5, 2016 – The City of Dunwoody and DeKalb County Board of Education (BOE) have agreed in principle on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for the purchase, sale, and exchange of real estate as well as improvements and maintenance of recreational fields and facilities. The agreement provides the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) with approximately 10 acres of property for the purpose of building a new Austin Elementary School adjacent to the school’s existing location and delivers future park space and shared access to sports facilities to the City of Dunwoody.

Mutually negotiated by Dunwoody and the DeKalb County BOE during the past year, the agreement details an arrangement under which the city would purchase the entire 9.8-acre property where the current Austin Elementary School is located on Roberts Drive, and a 7.9-acre portion of the existing Peachtree Charter Middle School (PCMS) on North Peachtree Road. Dunwoody would also obtain shared access to a four-acre track and sports field on the PCMS property.

The DCSD would purchase approximately 10.2 acres of the 27.8 acres of Dunwoody Park/Dunwoody Nature Center property on Roberts Drive for future construction of a state-of-the-art, 900-seat Austin Elementary School facility.

“This is an initial agreement that will be vetted in a ‘public town hall’ type meeting where citizen input will be sought and evaluated. A public vote by the City Council will be taken after Dunwoody citizens have an opportunity to hear and comment on the agreement,” said Dunwoody Mayor Denis Shortal. “There are details within the agreement which will need to be reviewed and worked out. After hearing public, input the City Council will decide the best course of action."

Under the agreement, two new baseball fields will be built at the newly acquired 7.98-acre site adjacent to PCMS as replacement for two baseball fields currently at Dunwoody Park. Construction will be structured and coordinated so that Austin Elementary students and families can continue to attend the current school site until the new building is completed. Dunwoody will maintain access to the baseball fields at one or the other site throughout construction.

“The agreement is a collaborative partnership with the city and a realization of the district’s commitment to the community, shared through our Building S.P.A.C.E.S. Initiative and public involvement process,” said DeKalb County School’s Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green. “We remain focused on determining how, where, and why future revenues from the approved E-SPLOST program should be dedicated to help improve and modernize our buildings and infrastructure.”

DeKalb County voters approved the 2012-2017 education-special purpose local option sales tax (E-SPLOST) program in November 2011 and a portion of these funds was designated for construction of a new Austin Elementary School facility.

At closing, the BOE will pay Dunwoody $3.632 million. That covers the net value of the land purchases and facility use agreements including without limitation, a DCSD lease on the Austin Elementary School property while the new school is being built, construction and maintenance of two new baseball fields and facilities, and the construction and maintenance of a field house and various stormwater upgrades and irrigation system installation/ operations for the track/football field at the PCMS property.

“This mutually beneficial agreement can open the door for both existing and additional sports programming that’s currently lacking for a city the size of Dunwoody,” said Dunwoody Parks Director Brent Walker. “By upgrading the infrastructure at the track/football field and constructing two top-quality baseball fields, the city will own or have access to approximately 12 acres of field space for area youth. This could be in use in 2019.”

As Dunwoody and the DeKalb County BOE move forward to finalize the agreement, several public meetings will be held. Residents and interested community members are invited to learn more at the following events:

  •  Public Information Meeting: Monday, October 17, 2016, 6 p.m. at Dunwoody City Hall (41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 103, Dunwoody, GA 30346)
  •  City Council Meeting: Monday, October 24, 2016, 6 p.m. at Dunwoody City Hall (41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 103, Dunwoody, GA 30346)
  • Public Information Meeting: Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 6 p.m. at Dunwoody City Hall (41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 103, Dunwoody, GA 30346)
  • City Council Meeting: Monday, November 14, 2016, 6 p.m. at Dunwoody City Hall (41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 103, Dunwoody, GA 30346)


Robert Wittenstein said...

Congratulations. This looks like a very good deal. I'm really impressed. Two things in particular impress me:
1. We purchased the land for the two new baseball fields between Brook Run and PCMS from the DeKalb County School system rather than using existing Brook Run real estate, essentially growing Brook Run by eight percent.
2. You got sufficient funds from the school system to build state-of-the art ball fields that the city will maintain (rather than relying on DeKalb schools for maintenance) and you even got enough money from the school system to update and improve the football field and track at PCMS. A lot of people will benefit from this.

Well done! Nice job!

Ben said...

Does the City Council have a plan for what the current Austin Elementary site will be used for once vacated by the Board of Education? If the plan is to keep the building that is there what is the plan to keep the buildings from falling into disrepair once vacated? If the plan is to demolish them, what is the estimated demolition cost?

Tracy Adkins said...

How does this affect the proposed addition to PCMS and DHS?

John Heneghan said...

There is no plan for old Austin location and guessing building will be demolished when vacated in three years. DeKalb states that proposal doesn't afffect any future addition build.

Ben said...

I encourage the city council to go ahead and get cost estimates on demolition now and go ahead and set aside money for that expense, or better yet, make DOE pay for the demolition. I'd hate to find out that demolition costs take up a sizable portion of the funds DOE will be providing.

Randy Pressnall said...

I have a few questions.
Why not put the fields in the back of Brook Run? Was that not an option.
Will the kids at Peachtree Middle be allowed to use the baseball fields during school day?
Will the fields be artificial sports turf?

John Heneghan said...

Randy, we saw an opportunity to increase park land and improve the quality of the fields that our children use everyday so we went with that option. I believe most of council would prefer the back 40 of Brook Run to become converted to flat playable active recreation space. Yes the shared use agreement allows PCMS students to use those fields during the day. As far as artificial sports turf, I like the concept especially as the cost per playable hour of use is usually lower but we haven't budgeted for the larger outlay nor really had that conversation as to its use in the community. Is that what you prefer to be used? Baseball fields too? Please be active in your questions / desires for the public outreach sessions coming up. Thanks

Paula Caldarella said...

I would like to thank the City Council and DeKalb School District for their work on this proposal. It seems to be a win-win for all. I understand the DSB League is disappointed, but hopefully they will "come around" and choose to be a partner with the City on this venture.

Paula Caldarella said...

Lacrosse and soccer are 2 popular sports at the middle school and high school level (boys and girls). I'd like to see some dedicated fields for their use as well, either in the empty back fields of Brook Run or as part of the renewed fields at PCMS.

Jay said...

it's been a year or so since we had a thread on real vs. fake grass. The latter seemed good to me at first, until reading about numerous disappointing experiences various cities have had (installers not honoring warranties), the fact that it needs replacing every 10 years or so ($$$), and the extremely hot temperatures on artificial surfaces.

Thus, I support real grass--but do think that the appropriate group should study and spend the money on proper soil foundation and drainage up front. Skimping on that can lead to swampy, unusable fields. The JCC just re-did their fields, and the soccer fields at Dunwoody Baptist also seem to drain well. Those could be good resources.

Jay said...

The new fields look good, I just sort of walked through the area with my kids. I'm still a fan of grass--but I can see the value of being able to get the fields rolled out and fastened down quickly between the showers we've been getting.

My only worry is that the Lennox a/c units for the concessions building will get stolen. It looked like they're out on some pads in a unsecurable spot. Maybe have someone look into this before some copper/ac thieves mess with them.

John Heneghan said...

Thanks Jay, notified staff of your concerns.