DCSD celebrates new Austin Elementary building with ribbon cutting ceremony

DeKalb County School District officials, staff, students and families celebrated the new Austin Elementary School building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 19.

The ceremony featured speeches and music by students. Austin Elementary is one of DCSD’s newest facilities. The new 900-seat school, which was built to help ease overcrowding in the district, is located on 10.2 acres of the 28-acre Dunwoody Park and Dunwoody Nature Center property.

DCSD Board of education Chairman Marshall Orson said the board is pleased to have this new building opened for Austin students.

“We know, as parents, that a school is more than a building,” Orson said. “But, it does feel good to have a new building, and when we’re able to deliver on that I think it’s a point of pride and a marker about our commitment to continually improve the school district.”

The new Austin Elementary School features ViewSonic digital whiteboards in every classroom, one-to-one Chromebook access for every student in third, fourth and fifth grade and two-to-one Chromebook access for lower grades. The school also has a rock-climbing wall.

“[The rock-climbing wall] is a sign that we’re trying to keep up with the times. It’s a sign that we are committed to all of you and the people throughout the county to make sure that our children have the best opportunity to a great education,” Orson said. “We know having modern, clean, safe and up-to-date facilities is part of that equation and we’re committed to continuing on that path.”

DCSD purchased the 10.2 acres from the city of Dunwoody. Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson thanked the city of Dunwoody for its efforts in completing this project.

“We could not have done it without them,” Tyson said. “We’ve gone through a lot of meetings on land, permits, designs and background again, and today, here is the fruit of that labor and we all should feel proud about that.

“Today we celebrate for the children of DeKalb County,” Tyson added. “I’m excited to see something that began as a thought 10 years ago exist for the children of this community and for the parents of this community.”

Originally located at 5435 Roberts Drive in Dunwoody, Austin Elementary has provided education for DeKalb County students since its opening on Sept. 2, 1975. Austin is a National Blue Ribbon school and was named the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2018. The school is also an AdvancED STEM certified school, had a College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score of 99 percent in 2019, and ranks in the top one percent of elementary schools in Georgia.

Region 1 Superintendent Dr. Sherry Johnson thanked Austin principal Dr. Ann Culbreath, who is retiring after the school year, for her leadership.

“On this day, staff, parents and community, we want to thank you for your support in this process,” Johnson said. “Thank you for your dedication and thank you for keeping the children first.”

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Contributed by Carla Parker