An architects rendering of the planned addition at Lakewood Elementary. (Photo courtesy of LEEF)

An architects rendering of the planned addition at Lakewood Elementary. (Photo courtesy of LEEF)

By this time next year, students at Lakewood Elementary School will be out from the dingy modular classrooms that have housed the overflowing student body for decades. Instead, the long-planned 52,500-square-foot addition will allow the school to increase capacity to roughly 1,000 students, up from 552.

That extra room is needed. There are 1,844 elementary-aged students living in Lakewood’s attendance zone currently, which is almost double that of any other East Dallas elementary, although around 700 attend private or home school. Long considered one of the city’s better public elementary schools, families flock to the attendance zone, as seen in skyrocketing property values (a 2012 Dallas Morning News article demonstrated that properties zoned to Lakewood can garner twice as much as houses a few blocks away in another attendance zone).

While it’s a year behind the Lakewood Elementary Expansion Foundation’s original schedule due to a few construction delays, the project is fully funded thanks to a combination of donor dollars and $12.6 million in Dallas ISD bond funds. Lakewood got one of the biggest slice of the pie when the district was carving out bond pieces because its makeover is extensive, including a brand new library and cafeteria. If all goes as planned, the cafeteria will be serving up students when they return to school next year.

The new, two-story addition should be ready to welcome students when they return from winter break next year, replacing the modular on the south side of the campus. The original 1951 schoolhouse is also getting an overhaul to modernize the campus and make it more practical for today’s student population. In total, students will have 47 new classrooms, two new art rooms and two new computer rooms, a music room, a nature courtyard and additional bathrooms, plus other upgrades.

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