In late March, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees approved a plan to invest approximately $148 million into addressing critical needs at district schools.
In August, four new schools funded by the Bridge Plan, as it is called, will open or reopen to students. Ed Levine, Dallas ISD executive director of Construction Services, said the district has been diligently working to adhere to the aggressive construction schedule that will open or reopen the four schools less than five months after trustees passed the Bridge Plan.
“It is taking a lot of work, but the schools will be ready for students on Aug. 24, which is the first day of school,” Levine said.
The new schools set to open or reopen this year due to the Bridge Plan funding are:
- The Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy High School at James W. Fannin
- The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Middle School at D.A. Hulcy;
- An early childhood center at the former site of Harllee Elementary;
- A new preK center in Wilmer, Texas
Meanwhile, the district has selected architects that are currently working on concept plans and designs for other projects funded through the Bridge Plan. The projects include needed renovations and facility upgrades to 10 schools with the most pressing needs; renovations or the creation of additional space to serve more preK students; and renovating sites for the expansion of schools of choice.
To pay for the plan, the district is using surplus bond proceeds, maintenance tax notes, and fund reserves.
Levine said while Dallas ISD is on the construction schedule set by the Bridge Plan, the district is committed to doing the projects right and not rushing at the expense of quality.
“We must be good stewards of the taxpayers money, and we are doing these projects the right way,” he said.
While the Bridge Plan addresses some of the district’s pressing needs, the Future Facilities Task Force, a citizen group, has been working on a broader Comprehensive Plan to, in part, address overcrowded schools, failing infrastructure in schools, and creating additional preK classrooms. After almost a year’s worth of discussion, the task force will present its facility improvement recommendations to trustees at a Bond workshop on Wednesday.