Tables and chairs will be placed in this open space to offer students a place to eat lunch. Photo by Renee Umsted.

A building project eight years in the making is almost ready to be unveiled at Alex Sanger Preparatory School.

The school, which this year enrolls about 730 students in preschool through eighth grade, is set to open its new addition March 10, following several delays in recent weeks.

More space was needed in part because of Sanger’s dual-language program. Principal Hector Martinez says not only was Sanger one of the first schools to offer the program, but it has been successful, with more students opting to continue with the program as they advance in grade levels.

Included in the new addition are 23 classrooms, science labs, a choir room, an orchestra room, a computer lab, locker rooms, a gym that doubles as a tornado shelter, offices and restrooms. Another part of the building is a dance studio, which will allow the school to begin a new dance program.

According to the Dallas ISD website, the contract value for the building is $14,456,710.

Though the project features modern updates and equipment, it has not eliminated some of the original parts of the school, like the windows and brick that formerly made up the exterior of the building.

“It’s like going into a new age,” Martinez says of the building addition.

During the construction process, which began December 2019 when crews started removing windows, teachers had to deal with loud noises, and several classrooms were moved to portable buildings. The beginning of heavier construction started March 2020, when much of the school community was working remotely due to the pandemic.

The additional space will allow the school to admit up to 750 students, but Martinez says he doesn’t want the school population to get too big. Alex Sanger will be offering a PreK 3 class for 3-year-old students starting next year.

Construction at Sanger isn’t quite over, as a new parking lot and an outdoor basketball court remain to be built. Martinez also says school officials are discussing adding a track around the perimeter of the school, as well as a soccer field.