Project reimagines four district schools

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Four Dallas ISD campuses were the focus of a recent project with the American Architectural Foundation to reimagine how the schools should look and function.

The foundation provided pro bono support to create architectural drawings and conceptual designs. Committees comprising staff, students and community members for each school worked with architects to prioritize needs and desires.

There are common elements in the plans, from flexible learning spaces and courtyards to multipurpose and flexible classrooms. Other elements address what a committee saw as failings of existing buildings, such as not providing welcoming entrances for students or visitors.

The three-day process included school tours, studying of future needs and culminated in team presentations on April 22.

Rosemont Elementary/Middle School

The challenge for Rosemont is that the school is housed in two adjacent but separate campuses: Rosemont Primary School houses lower grades, while older students through eighth-grade attend Rosemont.

Strategies include grouping students by the varying age groups, develop ideas to celebrate fine arts and create outdoor learning and also create visual and physical connections with Rosemont Primary.

L.G. Pinkston High School

At Pinkston, pride in school and community is important. Besides providing new types of learning spaces and opportunities, instilling pride with visual reminders of L.G. Pinkston the man and also Viking pride are part of the plan.

W.H. Adamson High School (original campus)

A new Adamson High School is adjacent to the historically designated original campus. That history is a large part of Adamson’s legacy, and a strong alumni association wants to preserve, protect and display that history while making the creating a useful facility for modern times out of the old.

One of the components suggested are movable displays of memorabilia to provide a visual connection to the past. Spaces will be brightened and made more open by reconfiguring the interior.

South Oak Cliff High School

Pride and tradition are also a large part of what South Oak Cliff High School means to its community. The plan starts with changing the current student entrance from the back of the school to a more celebrated entryway. Once inside, there would be state-of-the-art spaces that encourage collaboration and focus on college- and career-readiness.

Ashley Bryan, Director of Planning and Special Projects, said the conceptual drawings will be forwarded to architects assigned to each of the four campuses through the 2015 Bond Program. The ideas and input from the committees will serve as the starting point as designs are finalized.

Productive meetings

Dallas ISD has committed up to $40 million* of 2015 bond revenue for facility improvements at South Oak Cliff High School (SOC). Bryan said the design charrette is an important first step in generating ideas for the look and feel of learning spaces that align to SOC’s academic vision.

“When it comes to reimagining a school facility, a design charrette can, in just a few days, kick-start what would usually take months,” Bryan said.

*The up to $40 million will come from bond revenue previously earmarked for improvements to District 5, which is where SOC is located.

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