Elementary school groundbreaking inspires community

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The March 6 groundbreaking ceremony for Jose “Joe” May Elementary School attracted school and government officials, parents and students who wore lots of smiles.

The event, marking the beginning of construction for the 100,000-square-foot school, was held at Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Middle School due to inclement weather. May Elementary is the last school to be built with funds from Dallas ISD’s 2008 Bond Program, and will serve 800 students in grades Pre-K through 5. To be located at 9818 Brockbank Drive, across from Medrano Middle School, the new campus will sit on 7.2 acres and include 39 classrooms, two computer labs and three playgrounds.

The school is named for the late Jose “Joe” May, who represented District 8 on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees from 2002 until his death in 2006.

“We thank the voters of Dallas for their support of the bond program that invested $1.35 billion in the education of Dallas ISD students,” said Miguel Solis, president of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees.

In acknowledging the family of the late trustee for whom the school is named, Solis challenged students to strive to emulate May in their pursuit of academic excellence and in service to their community.

Tim Hise, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson High School feeder pattern welcomed the audience. The Medrano Middle School Leadership Cadet Corps presented the colors, and the band and dancers provided entertainment. Other speakers included Superintendent of Schools Mike Miles, Dallas City Council members Monica Alonzo and Adam Medrano, and Eliza May, sister of the late Joe May.

Ed Levine, executive director of Construction Services shared features of the environmentally sustainable building, which will feature geothermal temperature systems and natural and energy-efficient lighting.

May, who was born in Laredo, Texas in 1944, was a Vietnam-era veteran and outspoken advocate of voting rights and public education. Friends say his passion was helping the poor, disenfranchised and those who lacked a voice.

Dallas City Councilman and former Dallas ISD trustee Adam Medrano, who assumed May’s seat on the board of trustees following his death, praised May’s accomplishments in his nomination to name a school in May’s honor.

“Joe May was a visionary advocate and a fearless leader who did not yield to pressure or controversy. He was an exceptional role model for the Hispanic community of Dallas, a self-made man, leader, and public servant whose visionary leadership was ahead of its time,” Medrano said.

May’s sister, Eliza May, said her family is proud that his legacy will include a school named in his honor.

“We hope the school will foster the next generation of public servants who will value the things that he stood for,” she said. “My brother believed in public education, and worked hard to achieve his college degrees. We want others to know they can do the same.”

The school will open in August 2016. The project team includes the firm of Camargo Copeland Architects; Ratcliff Constructors is project manager, and AECOM is general contractor.

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