DeKalb Schools’ temporary classrooms in Dunwoody aren’t certified for use

Students exit temporary portable classrooms at DeKalb County’s Cary Reynolds Elementary School. DeKalb County School District and Dunwoody city officials are not saying how scores of portable classrooms at schools in the city did not receive certificates of occupancy. (AJC FILE PHOTO)

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Students exit temporary portable classrooms at DeKalb County’s Cary Reynolds Elementary School. DeKalb County School District and Dunwoody city officials are not saying how scores of portable classrooms at schools in the city did not receive certificates of occupancy. (AJC FILE PHOTO)

Dunwoody’s City Council approved an agreement between the city and the DeKalb County School District which seeks to streamline the method through which district structures are permitted for use.

A snafu in the process has resulted in no recently installed portable classrooms at DeKalb County schools in the city having certificates of occupancy, officials said. Neither the school district or the city is taking responsibility — and students continue to take classes in structures not properly permitted.

“There’s been a lot of work to have these facilities inspected,” Dunwoody spokesman Bob Mullen said Tuesday. “Historically, the city has worked with the county and participated in the review process.

“In terms of numbers, I don’t know which (portable classrooms) have and which have not (been inspected).”

Dunwoody resident Rick Callihan said he became aware of an issue with the portable classrooms' occupancy permits when he noticed a new trailer at Dunwoody High School recently.

DeKalb County Fire Marshal Joseph Cox, in responding to an email Callihan sent about the permit process, said all portables have been inspected by DeKalb County Fire Rescue. But, he added, none of the district’s portable classrooms placed in Dunwoody since 2015 have certificate of occupancy permits.

Monday, DeKalb County School District officials said portable classrooms placed in the previous three years were approved for occupancy.

District spokesman Andre Riley said 33 portable trailers housing 48 classrooms are being used at schools located in Dunwoody.

In Georgia, portable classrooms are required to be constructed according to commercial building codes. Once they are placed, they are then to be inspected to make sure they comply with occupancy rules.

While city officials say the agreement approved Monday was progress to make sure all steps are done to permit temporary classroom structures, Callihan said it’s a step that wasn’t needed.

“I’m disappointed the city has failed to do what it was supposed to do ... or admit it was wrong,” he said.

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