DeKalb Schools buys property for new school; hundreds at Doraville complex to be displaced

The DeKalb County School District late Monday approved the purchase of a Doraville apartment complex, where officials hope to build a new elementary school to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster of schools.

The purchase of 3630 Shallowford Road will displace dozens of families in the 104-unit Shallowford Garden Apartments, giving them until the end of August to find new housing.

District officials said in a press release that the $8.2 million purchase would help alleviate overcrowding at Dresden and Cary Reynolds elementary schools, where hundreds of students attend class in approximately 42 portable classrooms.

The Cross Keys cluster is a jumble of schools along the Buford Highway corridor, where most of the students are HIspanic or Latino, and from a large refugee population from DeKalb County's refugee resettlement district.

District officials said financial incentives will be offered to residents to assist in finding new housing, and no one would be forced to move before the end of their lease agreements. Construction is expected to begin in 2018, with the school slated to open in 2020.

“We are excited to add a state-of-the-art elementary school that will get our students out of portable units and into permanent classrooms, which is always our aim,” Superintendent Steve Green said. “At the same time, we are mindful of the impact this work will have on families, many of whom have children enrolled in our schools. We plan to be good neighbors through this delicate process.”

A community meeting will be held with displaced residents at First Baptist Church of Doraville, 5935 New Peachtree Road, at 7 p.m.