A photo from the groundbreaking of Geneva Heights Elementary in 1931. Photography courtesy of the Dallas Morning News Archives.
“I’ve expressed publicly my support for maintaining the historic parts of the building,” says Dustin Marshall, the trustee for District 2, which includes Geneva Heights. “This will be a community-intensive and collaborative process. It will not be done behind closed doors. There will be chances to voice perspectives on key issues at each of the campuses.”
Major construction at schools is still months away. This month, Bates hopes to assign architects and project management firms to each campus. Meetings with school staff and community stakeholders can then begin in June. Designing a new school typically takes about nine months, and it takes about five months to get a building permit from the City of Dallas. Construction is scheduled for 16 months, with a tentative completion date set for October 2023.
“These schools are slated to be replaced with new state-of-the-art, energy-efficient buildings with plenty of natural light and space and modern technology,” says Dan Micciche, the trustee for District 3, which includes Hexter and Reilly. “These school communities would go from having some of the worst buildings in the district to the best.
Once the new schools are complete, the district intends to use bond money for preventative maintenance.
“We do a bond every five, six, seven years,” Marshall says. “Before that, they were fewer and farther between. There wasn’t money to upkeep these buildings that were built differently and, frankly, not built to last as long. This bond, even though it’s the largest in Texas history, still isn’t enough to address the entire wish list. It’s large enough to address priority one and two needs, but priority three and four will become priority one and two needs. We’re always fighting against the passage of time.”