Owner Architect Meeting (OAC) – Pleasantdale Elementary School Build Update

Pleasantdale Elementary School

On behalf of the NCA (Northcrest Civic Association), Chuck Hunt and Kathleen Sheppard Curry attended the OAC meeting today (11/15/18) to gather further information about the proposed notification of construction blasting. The meeting was organized by DeKalb County School District. To recap, notices were sent to 62 homes in Northcrest via the mail from Vibra-Tech Engineers, Inc. with regards to a ‘request for pre-construction survey and notification of construction blasting activity’. DeKalb County Schools are not required to notify homeowners of the proposed activity but chose to notify homes within a 500-foot distance from the blast site.

Because of the meeting, questions were asked and a series of FAQs have been compiled by the NCA.

Why does the site need to blasted?

Blasting is a normal part of the construction that must occur when rock is encountered. After the trees on the site were cleared, the contractor was able to determine there was rock present below the ground. It is important to note that rock is encountered often at sites within Greater Atlanta. Blasting occurs around the city in many construction areas and often goes unnoticed.

How controlled is the blasting procedure?

Blasting is a very controlled procedure. It might take one month to fully blast the roughly 15,000 cubic yards of rock identified. The rock will be removed AFTER blasting is done to maintain erosion control measures.

Will the blasting be monitored?

The blasting will be monitored at four corners of the 500’-0” distance from the site. It will be monitored and checked after every blast.

Should homeowners who received a letter informing them of the home survey take up the offer?

This is an individual choice made by each homeowner. The video survey of properties should occur before the blasting and it is advisable that homeowners should schedule the video survey as soon as possible to document their homes current status. The video survey is a formality and will be carried out by a professional, vibration engineering company (GeoSonics/Vibra-Tech).

How long will the blasting take?

Blasting will most likely occur every-other-day. One day is used for drilling to place the explosives underground; the other day is used to blast. Blasting is estimated to occur around 3:30 p.m. to not disturb school activities, especially any planned testing.

If the contractor can start blasting while school is out for the holiday break, it may occur slightly more frequently or at other times. It would help the schedule if the blasting can occur during the holiday break while the school is unoccupied.

Will there be an audible warning before the blasting?

Yes. Air horns will sound before the blasting. We have been informed that the actual air horns will be louder than the actual blasting. Blasting should occur while there is enough daylight in the afternoon for the team to ensure all blasts ignited before the day ends and before the job site is closed.

What will the actual blast sound like?

Blasting will be more like the earthed “burped” and is very minor to the naked eye and ear.

Has the blasting affected the school build schedule?

This has impacted the schedule and the construction team will determine a new timeline after the blasting is completed. Currently, Evergreen Construction (who are managing the build) cannot do much construction work until the blasting occurs.

Will any of the 62 homes who received a notification letter have an opportunity to hear further information?

Yes, absolutely. A community meeting will be scheduled by DeKalb County School District (date to be confirmed) for the homeowners to ask more detailed questions about the blasting process. In the meantime, the representatives from DeKalb County Schools urge any neighbors that have concerns about blasting to call the two contacts as outlined in their letters.

Is there an update on erosion control?

Regarding erosion control and the trees along the creek, the DeKalb County Arborist will be meeting with DeKalb County Schools and Evergreen Construction on Friday, November 16, to determine which trees along the creek line are dead, diseased, or healthy. This will be the defining factor as to which trees must be removed. 

Available for download is the Tree Preservation Plan from 2017 for which Evergreen Construction anticipates that any dead or unhealthy trees will be removed before the new year.

 What if I’d like to get in contact with the NCA to raise another concern?

If you have any issue or concern and wish to consult with the NCA team then please complete the form on the school update webpage: https://northcrestcivicassociation.com/school

Any updates that the NCA have will be shared publicly on the NCA website within the News section.

Please note: all information was collated to the best of the NCA’s knowledge based on the OAC meeting. Should anyone have any specific insurance questions then they are advised to contact their home insurance company.

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