The new L.G. Pinkston High School is a state-of-the-art facility that is planned to open in fall 2021. As plans develop for this highly anticipated facility, much interest has been generated. This new school will house 1,000 students with future expansion capacity for an additional 500 students. The project consists of a three-story building totaling 226,948 square feet located on a 20.79-acres lot.
The design scope includes athletic fields, a 1,000-seat gymnasium/storm shelter, auditorium and visual and performing arts spaces, library/media services area, a Youth & Family Center, and special areas for the auto-tech, welding, collegiate academy, JROTC, and law department, as well as science labs, and Special Education accommodations.
This is all exciting information for students and families in West Dallas, but there are community questions that warrant answers. Please be assured that Dallas ISD would not and cannot place a school in an area that could pose a risk to the building occupants. Below are the facts of the most frequently asked questions.
Where will the new school be located?
3719 Greenleaf St. in West Dallas.
What are the concerns about the property on which it is being built?
The new Pinkston High School site falls within a 13.6-square-mile area of a former EPA superfund site, which was the result of a defunct lead smelter plant that operated up until the ’80s causing questions about the soil.
What steps have been taken by the district?
The district has been working with Professional Service Industries, Inc. (PSI), an environmental consultant company, as well as the City of Dallas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to ensure this site will be safe for a new school.
To date, the consultant has taken approximately 300 soil samples. Of those taken, four came back above the TCEQ’s dermal, ingestion, and inhalation exposure threshold. The only one that will be where the building is located shows a higher than normal level of contaminants at 11 feet below the surface. This does not cause an immediate concern, but since the dirt will be disturbed during construction, the decision was made to remove the dirt in this specific area. The other locations are in areas where the new parking lots will be located, this dirt will also be removed.
Does the soil pose a safety threat?
Please be assured that Dallas ISD would not and cannot place a school in an area that could pose a risk to the building occupants. While the dirt is not perfect due to the historical industrial activities in the area, the environmental consultants report it does not pose any hazard to the site. The city and state (TCEQ) will be involved throughout the process to ensure all health and safety expectations are met.
In summary, what are the environmental consultants saying about the site?
The consultants report they have not identified soil, groundwater, or soil vapors that will have an adverse impact to the school or its occupants.
What are the plans to remediate the concerns?
The district will remove approximately 7 feet of soil under the building’s footprint and properly dispose of it in an approved landfill site before construction begins.
Environmental reports will be posted here.
What about all the children who attended school at the old George W. Carver and Sequoyah Learning Center campus?
The former students did not interact with the soil at levels the state considers a hazard for ingestion and inhalation (500 mg/kg). The EPA tested these sites and did not find contaminated soils at this level, and PSI did not find soils at this level in the areas of the former schools on the site. Soils impacted with metals that are under a building or parking lot are not going to impact people on the surface or in a classroom.
What does remediation of the lead do to the budget and construction schedule for the new school?
The district has separate funds set aside for environmental issues that could occur. There is no impact to the construction budget. The remediation is being handled separately from construction. The district does not anticipate any impact to the construction schedule due to this matter.
What will happen to the old Pinkston High School building, which is located at 2200 Dennison St.?
It will continue to house the middle school currently located on the top wing of the building. It will eventually become the West Dallas STEM School (PK-8), which is also in the 2015 Bond Program.