Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2008 Bond Program Changes the Landscape in Dallas ISD

Dallas Weekly  March 18-24, 2010

Dallas ISD Trustee Carla Ranger, District 6
The 2008 Bond Program will provide the school children of Dallas facilities that meet the needs of a 21st century education. Many of the district’s schools are more than 50 years old and do not meet today’s educational needs. This extensive project is well under way; architects and program management firms have many design projects nearing completion and a substantial amount of the land has been acquired.
The target for completing Phase I of the program is August 2011, before classes begin. It includes the construction of five new schools. Other schools are being substantially renovated and expanded. The former Wilmer-Hutchins High School facility and athletic stadium, located in District 6, will undergo a true transformation. Phase I also includes additions or expansions to six schools and renovations at an additional 73 schools.
The renovated Wilmer-Hutchins High School and Wilmer-Hutchins Stadium
Phase II is expected to be complete by the summer of 2012. This phase includes the construction of six new schools, additions or expansions at four schools and renovations at an additional 75 schools. Phase III, due to begin in early 2011, will include three new schools, additions or expansions at five schools, and renovations at an additional 56 schools. 
On completion, the 2008 Bond Program will provide 14 new schools, including eight elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools.
The Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School
Twelve existing schools will receive additions to provide 177 new classrooms. Five of those schools are in District 6: T.L. Marsalis, Clinton P. Russell, L.A. Stemmons and Daniel Webster elementary schools and L.V. Stockard Middle School, each of which will receive a new wing. More than 200 schools will be renovated, including 19 science labs at six existing secondary schools, kitchen renovations at 16 schools and expansion of lunchrooms at 22 campuses.
The program includes updating classroom and lab computers, campus supporting infrastructure and interactive student technology, as well as classroom presentation devices. The district’s regional sports complexes also will be refurbished as part of the program.
The Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy
Plans have been made for Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy and Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School, with groundbreakings for these District 6 facilities to be held this spring. Groundbreaking for Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School (also to be located in District 6) is expected sometime this summer.
The Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr. Middle School
In other news, Dallas ISD students recently donated more than $49,000 to 24 charity and nonprofit organizations during the annual Common Cents campaign. Students from 40 Dallas ISD schools participated in the campaign, a student-led coin collection effort designed to raise money for charity and non-profit organizations while encouraging good citizenship and social responsibility in students. Several of the charity and non-profit organizations which will receive a donation include the American Red Cross, Children’s Medical Center and the Lymphoma Society.
Other news in District 6:
Readers are leaders, and it was my pleasure to visit Daniel Webster and T.G. Terry elementary schools last month for delightful reading celebrations with first-, second-, and fourth-grade students. Regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension and vocabulary. If you would like to read to or with students, check with your neighborhood school for information about how to volunteer.
Debate is a formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams support and oppose a given proposition. Students competing in debate must have both knowledge and quick-thinking skills to prevail. The University Interscholastic League had its beginnings as the Debating League of Texas High Schools and is about to celebrate with its centennial debate tournament. At last month’s UIL Cross Examination Debate competition, David W. Carter High School took first place in the 4A-11 division. Congratulations to Carter Cowboys’ debate team and coach Paula Jones, and good luck at the state meet in Austin later this month.