Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Austin to be Built at Ball Fields?

Speculation is running high that Dunwoody's Special Call Meeting this week is for city leaders to sign on the dotted line, doing a land swap of Dunwoody Park and the current Austin school site.  No word on how well the city negotiated, but let's all hope we did better than with John Wieldand Homes.  I found it comical that this article referred to Project Renaissance as a future "mixed-use wonderland".  It's a wonderland of unused construction materials and a prime example of why local Government shouldn't be in the real estate development business.  All 35 acres of this project should have been park space.  Dunwoody Sr Baseball would have three turf fields, we'd have a lacrosse field, girls softball, and people outside having fun.  Instead, we have a half-completed cluster home neighborhood with piles of trash.  Instead, the park portion of the wonderland is mostly known for inflatable jumpy tents setup for family reunions.  Such a missed opportunity by the City of Dunwoody. Soon we will know if the City acquired the land across the street (the former school site) or let that opportunity slip away as well.  

But let's get back to Austin. 

We've written many posts about Dunwoody schools and Austin.  Look HERE for a blog post from over three years ago, informing our readers that Austin would move to the baseball fields.

Please know the Austin folks didn't want a new school.  They simply wanted a remodel.  But a remodel wasn't good enough for some others in Dunwoody. The fine folks at DES penned a letter to the school system, insisting Austin be a new, 900 seat school.  If the Dunwoody Sr Baseball supporters want someone to blame for losing their current site, the 2015 DES school council is one of a few places to look. Read the DES letter for a good-ole 'we aren't happy, and so everyone should be unhappy as well' letter.  There is still a small faction of unhappy former Vandy (now DES) parents among us, and they believe a new Austin somehow evens the score. 

And here is the Kingsley letter, written to the same tune.  At least the Kingsley folks had the courage to sign their letter.

Yes, school councils can be brutal.  We have local political activist(s) disguised as school council members, leading misleading a mission to make DHS and PCMS even larger, affecting ALL Dunwoody residents for decades.  That post is still under construction, but you Save Dunwoody folks better get in action and demand a traffic study because DHS is getting bigger, with more and more cars, a huge parking deck, and did we mention more cars?  The upcoming DHS remodel will have you thinking the round-about at WoVerMack was a great idea.  

Hey, Vandy Posse, we can't write a post without mentioning our great Vikings friends.  Early word on the street is Vandy may be knocked down in three years, making room for the Dunwoody High expansion.  County school district leaders will deny it, of course. (But take a look at our prior years of school posts, and we are on target most of the time.)  Since our school councils FAILED to support Option A, and instead went way beyond Option B (by asking for an expansion not only at DHS but at PCMS as well) the high school needs to somehow add hundreds and hundreds of more seats, more parking spaces, and have some room for trailers as Perimeter and Doraville continue to grow residents, for now.

Or, imagine a Dunwoody where  more kids go to private school or home-school, and/or we have less high school aged kids living here.  Imagine a 2100-seat high school that has 200 or 300 empty seats.  Those seats WILL NOT stay empty.  You will see hundreds of kids traveling here from other areas of DeKalb, increasing traffic even more.  Next to Tucker, Dunwoody is the smallest high school campus in our district (even when Vanderlyn is knocked down).  It's in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  This is not a good spot for a 2100-seat school.  Yet the DHS council, with very little input from homeowners, if any,  approved of this deal.  Same for Peachtree Middle, set to hold 1,700 kids.  And this deal was also 'approved' by the PCMS Foundation.  Not sure if the PCMS school council voiced an opinion on this issue.  If someone knows, please email us so we can update this post.  Of course Kingsley supports this expansion plan as well.  We haven't seen anything from Austin, Vanderlyn, or DES, in letter form, supporting Option A or B.  We encourage these schools to meet quickly and submit a letter, supporting something/anything.  Staying quiet on such an important issue is not an option.

Here at DunwoodyTalk, we want the city to postpone any Austin deal, and introduce the school system's plans on expanding DHS and PCMS into the mix.  It's not too late.  And it's not too late for elementary school councils, and the PCMS and DHS councils to revise (or simply have a response) their responses to DeKalb.  In summary, the plans for school expansions in Dunwoody put forth by a few political activists in Dunwoody, disguised as school council members, are bad for students, parents, and homeowners. 

Dunwoody City Council members still have time to voice opinions on this issue.  Email them here: 

Don't accept an answer from your mayor and council saying it's not their area or not their issue.  This issue does involve our city and the elected officials need to get involved now.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting this out there. We had no idea! Why would any rational person want Dunwoody High School or Peachtree to be bigger? I drive by both everyday. It's become insane. Having hundreds of kids from outside of the city coming in is a traffic nightmare. It already is. Save Dunwoody from this insanity!

Despina Lamas said...

I see no point in postponing the Austin build. Can you please elaborate.

Despina Lamas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Wittenstein said...

We should probably wait and see what the details are before we call for a delay or oppose the deal. It may be great; it may not be.

There are arguments in favor of adding seats to Dunwoody High and PCMS. These additional seats keep the cluster in tact and prevent current Dunwoody students from being redistricted to nearby clusters. Eliminating trailers is another compelling reason to construct additions at overcrowded schools. Parking is a problem that has to get solved and as Dunwoody Talk has pointed out, an underground retention system is a great way to potentially address that. The 4-way stop at the corner is another issue that will have to get addressed.

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Details, hot off the press, coming right up...

DeKalb Board of Education agrees to pay $3.6m to Dunwoody in Austin Elementary land swap

The DeKalb Board of Education voted unanimously Oct. 3 to approve spending $3.6 million to purchase land from the city of Dunwoody as part of a land swap for the construction of a new Austin Elementary School.

The school board voted to approve a letter of intent and intergovernmental agreement with the city to swap the county-owned property where Austin Elementary School sits for the city-owned property in Dunwoody Park where the Dunwoody Senior Baseball League fields are located. The school district will build a new Austin Elementary School where the baseball fields are located.

The Dunwoody City Council is expected to vote on the letter of intent and IGA at a special called meeting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at City Hall.

Max said...

Rick you have long lobbied for added ball fields in Dunwoody, specifically in Brook Run Park.

I do not believe multiple ball parks for organized leagues to be the highest and best use for Brook Run, but agree that we do need ball parks. Maybe one or two fields in Brook Run, both for non-league use - one for adult pick up games, the other for junior use, maybe a softball field.

This proposal seems great to me, I am curious, what is your opinion of this proposal?