Dallas ISD Makes Decision On Schools Damaged By Tornadoes

Alan Scaia
January 24, 2020 - 7:37 am

Austin York/KRLD

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Dallas school board has voted unanimously on how to rebuild three schools hit by tornadoes in the outbreak October 20.

The tornadoes destroyed Cary Middle School and Walnut Hill Elementary and damaged Thomas Jefferson High School.

Dallas ISD would need to rebuild Cary Middle School and Walnut Hill Elementary but was considering three options for TJ High School:

Related: Dallas ISD Looks at Options to Rebuild from October Tornadoes

One would have rebuilt the high school at a cost of $147.4 million. Another would have made "minor renovations and major additions," costing $124.5 million. The third would make "major renovations and minor additions" at a cost of $82.1 million.

All three plans budgeted $49.8 to rebuild Cary Middle School for pre-K through 8th grade and to transform Walnut Hill Elementary as a career institute.

"A new building will breathe life into a school that desperately needs it," said Matt Bowers, a parent of a student at Thomas Jefferson. "You will make neighborhood parents consider sending their kids to Cary and TJ when, right now, they do not."

"We would love to see a new building, but the proposition of keeping the newer buildings and rebuilding the really old part of TJ, to me, makes the most sense," said another parent, Guy Thomas.

After about five hours, the school board voted unanimously for the cheapest plan. The proposal for "major renovations and minor additions" will demolish and replace parts of the school. Newer areas that were not significantly damaged will be kept in place and renovated.

"I think ultimately what this board wants is an excellent school," said Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

Hinojosa had said the board needed to make a decision at the meeting this week in order to finish construction by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.