East Dallas has its fair share of homogenous modern apartments popping up, increasing density in a gentrifying neighborhood while displacing much of its original architectural character. But like a ray of sunshine in a cloud of bland, angular apartment buildings, neighbors will soon have the chance to live in a unique, Italian Renaissance-style school building built in 1903.
Fittingly named The Principal, this development turns the Davy Crockett School’s classrooms, basement and gymnasium into 52 apartments and public rooms. The National Historic Landmark served as an elementary school and then a Dallas ISD administration building until 1989, the last time it was regularly used. The building had fallen into disrepair, and even warranted a Youtube tribute lamenting its status, complete with Sarah McLachlan’s plaintive voice. The somewhat shaky video highlights what appears to be extensive homeless encampments in the school’s outer alcoves. But now the school has been rehabilitated and will soon open to residents.
The structure will retain much of the original design, including its wide hallways and 18-foot ceilings. The original lockers, water fountains and many of the light fixtures will be incorporated into the final design as well. The school’s cafetorium and gymnasium have also been converted into apartments, which range from 500-square-foot studio lofts to 1,150-square-foot two-bedroom units, and will start at $1,000 per month. Some even have their own entrances, utilizing exit doors in the original building.
This weekend is an eventful one for the intersection of Victor and Carroll Avenue where the school sits. Porchfest, a music and art festival benefitting Peak’s Addition, will be taking place from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday at Buckner Park across the street from the school. The park has undergone extensive renovation, and will be cutting the ribbon that day as well. Tours of the school will be offered during the day as well.
Leasing will begin in the next few weeks, and move in should be around Jan. 1, according to Kathy delaVergne of the development company Prevarian.
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