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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of North Texas students have spent the last school year going to class, next to construction zones. Millions of dollars in improvements are underway on more than two-dozen Dallas Independent School District campuses.
Overcrowding is an issue at a number of the DISDs older campuses. While it may cut into playground space, most parents, teachers and students at Lakewood Elementary are happy to see and the new building going up behind it.
Lakewood parent Gretchen Darby said, “This is a great neighborhood, it’s lovely, the kids are lovely, but we have dealt with some issues with the school and its foundation for a long time. So, we are finally glad to be getting an update. All the parents and everybody involved in the project… they’re all super excited.”
Lakewood has nearly 900 students enrolled at the school, but only space for about 552.
DISD passed an Interim Bridge Plan back in 2015 to create additional classroom space and build new facilities. Money from the $148 million plans also means additions and interior renovations at some 30 aging neighborhood schools.
As it stands, DISD officials said the construction projects are running on time. The addition at Lakewood is slated to be complete next year and so is construction at Nathan Adams Elementary in North Dallas – where the first addition in 48 years is wrapping up. The projects there, like on several other campuses in the district, will completely eliminate portable classrooms on campus.
The end is even closer for other schools, with a number of construction projects expected to be complete by the end of summer.
Tim Strucely, the DISD executive director of construction services, explained, “We’ve got a lot of activity going. We’ve got several projects in our pipeline under design right now for 2015, so we’re going to have a busy summer.”
The Bridge Plan isn’t the only funding for expansions and renovations, but Strucely said it meets the most immediate needs. “One of the things we do is we look at demographic studies, just a recent one that updated us. That provides us with data that we can use to project where the growth is going, so we can make intelligent decisions on where to expand a school or potentially consolidate schools.”
Some of the changes happening in the DISD include includes 33 new classrooms, including art and music rooms, and a new library Lakewood elementary, with a renovation cost of $13.8 million.
At W. T. White High School a $15.1 million project will bring 27 new classrooms, three science labs and new windows.
A $6.1 million project will net Nathan Adams Elementary 12 new classrooms.