Schools in the Dallas Independent School District were placed on the Endangered list in 2015 as several were threatened with replacement. In 2018, that threat intensified with the release of a Strategic Facilities Plan calling for the demolition and replacement of seventeen schools, with decisions to be made on an additional six. DISD is currently finalizing that plan with a $3.7 billion Bond to go to voters for approval in November. The plan calls for the demolition and replacement of 14 schools including: John Q. Adams, William Hawley Atwell, Dallas Environmental Science Academy, Everette L. DeGolyer, Geneva Heights, Lenore Kirk Hall, Victor H. Hexter, Edwin J. Kiest, Longfellow Career Exploratory, Herbert Marcus, George Peabody, Elisha M. Pease, Martha Turner Reilly and Urban Park. All of which are historic dating from the 1930s to the 1960s with many designed by noted local architects such as George Dahl, Mark Lemmon, and Lang & Witchell. The schools were chosen based on the number of identified building deficiencies and due to inadequately sized spaces for current enrollment.
Historic schools are extremely important as they are landmarks that contribute to the sense of place in our neighborhoods. They were built to last with substantial materials and a high level of craftsmanship and unique design. Preservation Dallas encourages DISD to thoroughly explore the rehabilitation of the existing schools instead of demolition. Other solutions include removal of unsuitable additions and the rehabilitation of the original core structures while adding new spaces. A blend of old and new would celebrate the importance of physical examples of civic history while teaching children that we don’t need to be a disposable and wasteful society by tearing down something useful. Historic schools are too important to lose and every opportunity should be afforded for their continued use and preservation.