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Thread: DTD | Arts District: Booker T Washington Expansion

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    D-AD DTD | Arts District: Booker T Washington Expansion

    Hamon contributes $10 million to new Arts Magnet building
    09:50 PM CST on Tuesday, February 17, 2004
    By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News
    The sight of students attending class in a hallway bugged Nancy Hamon.
    So much so that the Dallas philanthropist is making what might be the largest donation ever to a U.S. public arts school.
    Dallas school officials will announce today that Mrs. Hamon is giving $10 million toward construction of a larger, more modern building for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
    Mrs. Hamon said she was struck by her visit to the aged, crowded building in the downtown Arts District.
    What's in store for Booker T.
    Old
    Built in 1922, with additions in 1952 and 1976. Seven portable buildings
    130,000 square feet
    733 students
    Separate wings for arts programs
    Artifacts, awards housed in lobby display case
    New
    Could open in 2007. Design would incorporate the original structure
    170,000 square feet
    Up to 833 students
    Open, flowing concept integrates all the arts programs
    Artifacts, awards housed in the school museum
    "I saw students sitting on the floor on both sides of the hall with their backs against the wall sketching," she said. "It's a wonderful school for the arts; it was just so crowded. They were just all over each other."
    Her gift to the Arts Magnet Building Campaign committee brings the funding effort for a new 170,000-square-foot building within $11.5 million of its estimated $40 million cost. The construction is to be funded equally by public funds and private donations.
    The building, which could open in 2007, would be thousands of square feet larger than the old facility and include performance and recital halls and a museum.
    Booker T., often referred to as the Arts Magnet, would remain in the Arts District at 2501 Flora St. All but the original portion of the building, built in 1922, would be torn down to make way for the new school. The original structure, protected by historical landmark status, would be renovated and joined with the new building.
    Booker T. alumni, parents, community members and arts patrons on the building campaign committee have worked to raise money since 2001.
    $13.5 million to go
    Mrs. Hamon's gift brings their effort to $13.5 million. The Dallas Independent School District, with school board approval, would allocate $15 million from bond program funds and would work to raise the remaining portion of its half.
    Superintendent Mike Moses said it's possible that naming rights could be sold for certain parts of the building, including the 450-seat performance hall.
    "The work's not done," Dr. Moses said, adding that DISD and the building campaign would jointly close any funding gap.
    Famous friends
    Some of the school's most famous alumni, including Grammy-award-winning vocalists Norah Jones and Erykah Badu, have donated to the building campaign by having benefit concerts or participating in fund-raisers.
    W. Bennett Cullum, president of the school's advisory board, hopes Mrs. Hamon's gift will bring even more attention to the need for a new building and spur more donations.
    "Her commitment will help get everybody's attention," Mr. Cullum said. "This is an unprecedented gift to public education."
    About the Patron
    Nancy Hamon
    Born: San Antonio, Dec. 12, 1918
    Career: philanthropist, minor film roles as an actress and dancer
    Philanthropy: Some local donations include a $20 million gift in 1988 to the Dallas Museum of Art for a major expansion. A few years later, she gave $25 million to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for biomedical research. She has given nearly $8 million to Southern Methodist University for various projects and programs. She also donated to the African American Museum, and in 2002, she gave $3 million to Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas' Neuroscience Center for intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging equipment.
    Awards: TACA/Jas. K. Wilson Silver Cup Award, 1990; the Flora Award, 1992; the Linz Award, 1994
    Mrs. Hamon, an avid arts patron, is the widow of Dallas oilman Jake Hamon, who died in 1985. Over the years, she has supported many causes. Among her largest gifts: $20 million for a major expansion of the Dallas Museum of Art and $25 million toward construction of a biomedical research building at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
    The gift to the Arts Magnet will be her first donation to a K-12 public school.
    "I just hope I'll see it completed," said Mrs. Hamon, 85, adding wistfully that her mother did live to 101.
    Record donation?
    The $10 million gift equals a donation to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, as the second largest to any high school, public or private, according to JoLynne Jensen, executive director of the Arts Magnet advisory board, who said she had the question researched.
    The largest single gift ever, $20 million, went to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School in Milwaukee, Ms. Jensen said.
    Bob Hopkins, president of Philanthropy World Magazine, said Mrs. Hamon's gift is probably the largest to a public school for the arts.
    "People do not give gifts usually to public schools," he said. "Because the Arts Magnet school is so beloved, some people feel it's a private school, but it's part of the DISD system."
    Dr. Moses and building campaign officials aren't ready to say whether the new building would carry the Hamon name, which isn't uncommon with large donations. But they said it definitely will retain the Booker T. Washington name.
    It's a well-guarded secret how much money Mrs. Hamon has donated over the years to various projects.
    "She's done a lot of things anonymously no one hears about," said Jack Roach, an attorney who has represented the Hamon family for 45 years.
    Mrs. Hamon said her husband would be proud of the contributions she has made.
    "I'm just trying to get a lot of this done while I can still live to see it," she said.
    Her latest gift brings the new building much closer to the grasp of volunteers who have held fund-raisers and taken potential donors on tours of the current structure, which sits in the shadow of the elevated Woodall Rodgers Freeway.
    The old red schoolhouse, two stories with wooden window frames, looks like something out of a black-and-white movie. It was constructed in 1922 as Dallas' first high school for black students.
    Jumble of structures
    Over the last 82 years, it has become a hodgepodge of add-on structures that officials say is poorly suited to an esteemed school for the arts.
    It has become a maze of corridors, some of which were added in 1952 when the building became a technical high school, and others attached in 1976 when it became an arts magnet school as part of a court-ordered desegregation plan.
    Officials say performance and rehearsal facilities in the building are too few and too small, and many studios are converted classrooms.
    Inside the front doors, a display case holds artifacts from the school's history, such as two football state championship awards from 1941 and 1948 and a football star's 1941 sweater.
    The old-style building also sticks out in the Arts District, where neighboring structures and gardens were designed by modern architects such as Edward Larrabee Barnes (Dallas Museum of Art) and I.M. Pei (Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center).
    The new building being designed by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture in Portland, Ore., is along the same lines.
    Arts Magnet Building Campaign chairman I.D. "Nash" Flores III said the new school building "will send a message that we're a key part of the Arts District."
    "It was a challenge and question of whether we could accomplish it," Mr. Flores said of the building campaign. "This is sort of a major milestone in public education."
    The Arts Magnet is home to about 730 aspiring dancers, actors, visual artists, singers and musicians – the brightest arts students in Dallas. Up to 100 more students could be housed at the proposed new campus because square footage would go up from 130,000 to about 170,000.
    The building campaign is proceeding in five phases, three of which are complete. They included selection of the architect and organization of the capital campaign. The fourth phase includes schematic design, design development and the public portion of the fund-raising campaign, to be kicked off Wednesday at the school.
    Phase five would include a groundbreaking in 2005.

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    High-Rise Member dallastophoenix's Avatar
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    what a great contribution!

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    That's amazing to hear! I've met Ms Hamon a few times and am family friends with her family and they are amazing!! She is a wonderfull person and is very generous...I just didn't realize this generous!! I'm very happy to hear about this and hope that the school can become a beautifull campus that co-exists with the arts district, but yet remains distinctive.

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    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Wow, that's awesome! Wish we had more philanthropists like Ms. Hamon.

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    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    This is awesome news! I am, however, wondering if the plans are too shortsighted though. If I read correctly, they are only expanding a total of 40,000 sq ft., which is not that much. What happens if they need more space in 10 years? Is there more land available around there? Just curious.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

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    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Just as a point of reference, two new schools that we did the site work for in Mesquite (one elementary and one middle school) last year both had a footprint of around 130,000 square feet. I'm not sure how much total space the arts magnet school will have when finished, but 40,000 square feet (just under one acre) sounds pretty big for an addition. It does sound like they're demolishing quite a bit of what's there, though.

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    High-Rise Member Foucault's Avatar
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    Here are aerial views of the school before and after:

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    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    Dallas Arts Magnet gets $1 million from Bank of America
    http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas...25/daily3.html

    The Dallas Arts Magnet school, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, received a $1 million boost to its building campaign from Bank of America, the school's advisory board said Monday. The gift, which will be matched by an anonymous Dallas foundation, will go toward a $40 million building expansion and renovation project. The Bank of America Anchor Institutions Grant Program gives funds to organizations involved in education, community revitalization and economic development. The Arts Magnet Building Campaign fit each category.

    The campaign will fund the renovation of the original 1922 Booker T. Washington building. As part of the project, the 1952 and 1976 additions will be demolished and replaced by a 160,000-square-foot building that will be added onto the 1922 building. The Arts Magnet school boasts such graduates as Grammy award winning singers Norah Jones and Erykah Badu and Grammy award winning trumpet player Roy Hargrove.

    Web sites: www.artsmagnet.org and www bankofamerica.com.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

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    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    Awesome! It's refreshing to see a mega corporation give back to the community.
    Dallas uber alles

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    Super Moderator Tnekster's Avatar
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    Great news! It seems like the stream of good news just doesn't quit.

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    Booker T. Washington Temporary Relocation During Construction

    <div><div style='float: right; text-align: right; width: 350px; padding: 20px;'><img src='http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/img/v3/06-17-2005.NM_17BookerT4.G7P1KBS63.1.jpg' style='border: 1px solid #000000;'>
    RANDY ELI GROTHE/DMN

    A new building is being constructed for the Booker T. Washington campus, causing the relocation of students.
    </div>
    Concern raised over arts magnet's home
    Dallas: Safety at site questioned; district says it's best available place

    07:12 AM CDT on Friday, June 17, 2005
    By TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News


    The pending move of Dallas' arts magnet school to a facility in east Oak Cliff isn't sitting well with some parents and students.

    Some have voiced disapproval after cruising around the temporary relocation site for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. They noted the nearby low-end motel with signs that warn away prostitutes and drug dealers. The modest homes with burglar bars. The site's non-central location.

    "A bunch of us have driven by there," said Rachel Deering, who lives in northwest Dallas and has one child at the school. "Safety is a concern, [and] it is really inconvenient."

    This winter, the Dallas school district plans to relocate the students to Nolan Estes Plaza, a district facility, for at least 18 months while a new building is being constructed.

    The downtown arts magnet school has long been a fixture in the city's Arts District. Neighbors such as the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Nasher Sculpture Center have become the school's learning laboratories.

    District officials said Nolan Estes Plaza, which houses two elementary schools, a preschool and some district administrative offices, is the best available place to house the students. It's estimated that a building of at least 130,000 square feet is needed for the approximately 700 Booker T. students.

    "We are trying to provide the best temporary solution that we can," Dallas schools spokesman Donald Claxton said. "It's a temporary discomfort for something wonderful in the end."

    Cost is also a factor. Trustee Lew Blackburn, whose district includes Booker T., said that spending $4 million to $5 million to lease another location would be a big price to pay for temporary lodging.

    Dr. Blackburn, who has met with parents, said the district is checking out two possible locations in the downtown area.

    Meanwhile, parents and students have launched a grassroots effort to halt the move. E-mails have been circulating, district officials are being approached and an Internet petition has started.

    Booker T. student Lizzie Cochran, who lives in the M Streets off Lower Greenville Avenue, created the petition, "Keep Arts in the Arts District," with a goal to collect 300 signatures. On Thursday, it had 314."Our school is an arts school, and the Arts District has the resources our school needs," said Lizzie, 15. "Being away from that area would make it a lot more difficult."

    Parents and students at Booker T. are known for their passion and pride in the arts magnet. The campus has turned out impressive artists such as Grammy-award-winning vocalists Norah Jones and Erykah Badu.

    Some parents fear that the artistic vibe that permeates at the school will be lost if students are moved too far away.

    "There's something about the atmosphere," said Carol Hall, a resident in the White Rock Lake area who will have two children at the arts magnet this fall.

    Ms. Hall is also concerned about student drivers tackling busy traffic to get to Nolan Estes, which is about eight miles south of Booker T. and off Interstate 35E and Kiest Boulevard.

    Ms. Hall said the relocation site should be centrally located because students from all over the area attend Booker T.

    "Parents are used to being able to get the kids downtown themselves, or letting them ride the train," Ms. Hall said.

    Myrtle Salone, a 79-year-old member of an alumni association for former Washington and Lincoln high school students, said she believes the parents are blowing the situation out of proportion and are alarming the students. She said there's nothing wrong with the Nolan Estes site.

    Ms. Salone said that if safety is a concern, what about students in the Oak Cliff area who attend Kimball and South Oak Cliff high schools?

    "Are they any different?" she said.

    Violent criminal acts were much higher in the 75224 ZIP code where Nolan Estes sits compared with the much smaller 75201 ZIP code where Booker T. is, according to information received through the Dallas Police Department's Web site for 2002, the latest information available online. There were 1,607 violent acts in the 75224 area; the 75201 area had 493.

    I.D. "Nash" Flores III, chairman of the Arts Magnet Building Campaign, said finding a reasonable site with enough space for all the students will be a challenge.

    In the meantime, construction plans for the $46 million project are moving along. All but the original portion of the building, built in 1922, will be torn down to make way for the new school. The original structure, protected by historical landmark status, will be renovated and joined with the new building.

    Mr. Flores said that regardless of what happens with the move, Booker T. students will keep their connection with the Arts District.

    "We're just going to make sure that happens one way or another," he said. "It's going to take some buses or some special arrangements."

    E-mail tdhobbs@dallasnews.com
    </div>
    Last edited by drumguy8800; 17 June 2005 at 03:30 PM.

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    Parents protest Arts Magnet's temporary location

    Parents protest Arts Magnet's temporary location


    11:07 PM CDT on Thursday, August 25, 2005

    From WFAA-TV Staff Reports

    http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dw....abb9b666.html

    Students and parents stood outside City Hall in protest to the temporary Arts Magnet's relocation.

    Many parents and students of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts picketed the Dallas Independent School District board meeting Thursday night. They said they are angry about plans to move the school from its downtown location in the Arts District to Nolan Estes Plaza in east Oak Cliff.

    As board members arrived around 6:00 p.m., they were greeted with parents and students wearing masks and holding protest signs that read "Nolan Estes stinks."

    The December move would only be for a couple of years, but some parents said that is two years too long. Some of those in protest over the Oak Cliff school building said it was unsafe and that they found a better alternative. However, the district said that isn't an option.

    They promised we would be downtown," said parent Tom Chambers.

    DISD officials said the location is a temporary spot for the Arts Magnet school while the downtown campus undergoes renovations and construction. But parents said it just wasn't the location that angered them. The major disappointment, they said, began once many of them stepped inside the Oak Cliff facility and saw its condition.

    "You walk through - there is mold and mildew and dank smell in the bottom of the building where our children will be," Chambers said. "There are rat droppings and cockroaches."

    But district officials said for half a million dollars they can have the location ready by January.

    "We feel this is a decent facility," said Donny Claxton, a DISD spokesman. "It will have improvements to gussy it up before the students show up."

    That has been the plan since May, but in June parents found what they thought was a better facility at the old Atmos Building.

    The facility has historic architecture, a full commercial kitchen and many spaces that could easily be converted to classrooms. Plus, parents said they like the location because it is close to the downtown Arts District.

    "Unlike the other high schools, their location is key to programs," said Emet Schneiderman. "They interact on a daily basis with professional artists and performers and that's just not going to happen."

    But school officials estimated it would cost $4 million to convert the location the parents have chosen.

    "The superintendent has heard both sides," Claxton said. "He's walked the Atmos facility - and again - we go back to we are moving ahead with Nolan Estes Plaza."

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    BOOKER T. PROTEST OVER NOTHING

    The historic Booker T. Washington school is being remodeled, and some of the parents are not happy about the temporary digs the district has lined up for the displaced Booker T. students. They say Nolan Estes Plaza in Oak Cliff has mold problems and isn't safe. To show their displeasure, some parents and kids are organizing a march downtown today at 4:10. I know this because a woman named Barbara Norris who works in creative services for Neiman Marcus sent an e-mail yesterday evening to just about every media outlet in town. I know she works for Neiman's because she sent the e-mail from her Neiman's address. I assume she's a Booker T. parent.

    But here's the thing: I've talked to the architect who is largely responsible for the Booker T. remodel. Vel Hawes (who happens to be my neighbor) was also Ray Nasher's site manager for the construction of the Sculpture Center. He knows his stuff, is what I'm saying. And Vel tells me that the Nolan Estes solution is near-perfect. It's free to the district. It's safe because it sits near a police substation. And that mold the parents are complaining about is not mold. Finally, Vel tells me that he has led groups of students through the Nolan Estes site. The kids who've seen it all love it.

    (For the media that are going to cover the march, send me a note if you want the phone number for Nash Flores, the head of the 42-member board that is overseeing the renovation of Booker T.)



    Tim Rogers · 09:27 AM

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    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    As an Arts Magnet alum, I understand why they don't want to move from downtown. There is this great fear among parents that moving their kids out of the Arts District will somehow weaken their experience and education. The same protests happened when they tried to move the school to Townview. I think that the staff and administrators at BTWHSPVA need to talk to parents to help them understand that this is a temporary move. Those same artists that they interact with now will continue to have a great relationship with the school. Any facility is better than what they have currently. All of these stage moms need to realize that their kids are going to have a state-of-the art facility in the Arts District and that diverting resources from that would only serve to cheapen the product. Arts Magnet is a Dallas institution. Colleges will continue to beat down their doors and they will continue to put out quality artists. They are staffed by pros over there. Save the $3.5 million for better equipment in the new building or to help one of the lower performing schools in the district.

    I will now step down from my soap box. :coolcigar

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    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
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    With the influx of former New Orleans students -- plus the former Wilmer-Hutchins kids -- will DISD have to adjust their plans? Can they close a school at this point, even for renovations?

    On the other side of the debate, I wonder if the parents will be as picky, seeing as how our neighbors to the southeast have more than "faux mold" to worry about.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

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    Lakewooder Lakewooder's Avatar
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    I think there is some bias against Oak Cliff at work here...but you have to realize that these kids will probably go all the way through high school before the new campus is complete.

    I know several Arts Magnet students have transferred to Woodrow this year, because our performing arts program is so good. I doubt this will kill Booker T., but it is troubling --even though we are glad to get the kids*

    *maybe not the potential leads for this year's one-act and musical!

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    I've always wondered why this school is called Booker T. Washington.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaming Moderate
    I've always wondered why this school is called Booker T. Washington.
    http://www.dallashistory.org/history/dallas/btw.htm

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    From

    RE: BOOKER T.



    Perhaps snarkiness later. For now, I offer equal time to a Booker T. parent who isn't happy about the school's move. From Anita Picozzi Moran, an architect and principal at F & S Partners:



    As I write this my hands are shaking. I cannot believe that you have written such a naïve report about NEP and BTW. NEP is far, far, far from the perfect solution. A few parents are angry? Hundreds of letters have gone to DISD to complain! Dozens of parents and students have spoken to the Board of Trustees. A petition of complaint with more than 300 signatures has been generated. This is for a school with less than 700 students.

    Before you write, please research the subject. NEP is a sad, sad choice. Dozens of students have left the school and more are leaving. Complaints:

    1. Mold. Yes, sir. DISD had an air quality test done on the second and third floors. A test for dirt. They did not test for mold. Furthermore, they did not test anything in the subterranean basement where most of the academic spaces will be located. If there is no mold, why has DISD not produced a report saying so?

    2. Transportation. Many students ride DART to BTW. The closest DART station is 2.5 miles from NEP. DISD has no plans regarding how to get students to NEP. Most students cannot even ride school buses without some sort of car transportation.

    3. The Arts District. Believe it or not, this is not hollow. Our kids walk to events in the Arts District daily for classroom activities. That will be lost. Even if DISD provides transportation there is not time in a period to take a bus back and forth to downtown from BTW to use the Arts District. Classes are already being restructured to take this out of the curriculum. We have lost much in terms of education.

    4. Remote. Volunteers are dropping out…. Too far to get to quickly after work. Events are being moved. Who from the professional arts community will visit NEP for an art show? There is not theater at NEP. There is an auditorium but no fly loft, no dance theater. No windows in art studios. No gallery.

    5. Dilapidated. Last year, Mike Moses said the building would take $8 – $12M to make the building livable. All of a sudden DISD says it can be done for $500,000. They have yet to tell us if they are making the exiting and the fire alarm systems safe.

    6. ADA compliant. Maybe you don’t care, but I do. Grandparents, students, teachers, visitors who are handicap cannot use the building.

    7. Timing. The contents of this school has to be moved in two weeks over Christmas. Already boxes are arriving. Why move now? Because once again, it saves money and reduces what the Advisory Board has to raise. The cost? Attention to the students and academics. If a move has to be made it should be done at the end of the school year not now.

    Angry. You bet. My family has paid taxes for 25 years to DISD. We voted for the bond election on the promise of better facilities, not worse. Our daughter went to BTW with the promise of an urban school, centrally located, culturally diverse, in the arts district with DART transportation. We are loosing all of that. She is a junior. She will never see the new school. We have been told by the Advisory Board that our students are simply collateral damage. Sacrificed for the greater good of Dallas. In theory, these are some of the best students DISD has and yet, they are being thrown away. We have been told that the only reason why NEP is a good choice is because it is cheap. Keeping the cost of the temporary location to a minimum means less money for the Advisory Board to raise.

    What they have missed is that in this move? They lose hundreds of supporters. Thousands of dollars of donations. Much energy. Tremendous amounts of good will that could have been gained. This is one of the saddest chapters ever in Dallas politics. The Advisory Board is building a building but not a school. It is likely there will be few students when the new school opens.

    Do I know what I am talking about? Yes, sir. I am a parent of a current student. I am an architect with 27 years of experience in the design of buildings for public use. And I am a tax payer. It is insulting for anyone to say that this is perfect and it demeans you and D Magazine to say to. The only thing perfect about it is that it is cheap and expedient.

    Tim Rogers · September 8, 2005 11:56 AM

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    From D Magazine Frontburner

    RE: BOOKER T.



    Perhaps snarkiness later. For now, I offer equal time to a Booker T. parent who isn't happy about the school's move. From Anita Picozzi Moran, an architect and principal at F & S Partners:



    As I write this my hands are shaking. I cannot believe that you have written such a naïve report about NEP and BTW. NEP is far, far, far from the perfect solution. A few parents are angry? Hundreds of letters have gone to DISD to complain! Dozens of parents and students have spoken to the Board of Trustees. A petition of complaint with more than 300 signatures has been generated. This is for a school with less than 700 students.

    Before you write, please research the subject. NEP is a sad, sad choice. Dozens of students have left the school and more are leaving. Complaints:

    1. Mold. Yes, sir. DISD had an air quality test done on the second and third floors. A test for dirt. They did not test for mold. Furthermore, they did not test anything in the subterranean basement where most of the academic spaces will be located. If there is no mold, why has DISD not produced a report saying so?

    2. Transportation. Many students ride DART to BTW. The closest DART station is 2.5 miles from NEP. DISD has no plans regarding how to get students to NEP. Most students cannot even ride school buses without some sort of car transportation.

    3. The Arts District. Believe it or not, this is not hollow. Our kids walk to events in the Arts District daily for classroom activities. That will be lost. Even if DISD provides transportation there is not time in a period to take a bus back and forth to downtown from BTW to use the Arts District. Classes are already being restructured to take this out of the curriculum. We have lost much in terms of education.

    4. Remote. Volunteers are dropping out…. Too far to get to quickly after work. Events are being moved. Who from the professional arts community will visit NEP for an art show? There is not theater at NEP. There is an auditorium but no fly loft, no dance theater. No windows in art studios. No gallery.

    5. Dilapidated. Last year, Mike Moses said the building would take $8 – $12M to make the building livable. All of a sudden DISD says it can be done for $500,000. They have yet to tell us if they are making the exiting and the fire alarm systems safe.

    6. ADA compliant. Maybe you don’t care, but I do. Grandparents, students, teachers, visitors who are handicap cannot use the building.

    7. Timing. The contents of this school has to be moved in two weeks over Christmas. Already boxes are arriving. Why move now? Because once again, it saves money and reduces what the Advisory Board has to raise. The cost? Attention to the students and academics. If a move has to be made it should be done at the end of the school year not now.

    Angry. You bet. My family has paid taxes for 25 years to DISD. We voted for the bond election on the promise of better facilities, not worse. Our daughter went to BTW with the promise of an urban school, centrally located, culturally diverse, in the arts district with DART transportation. We are loosing all of that. She is a junior. She will never see the new school. We have been told by the Advisory Board that our students are simply collateral damage. Sacrificed for the greater good of Dallas. In theory, these are some of the best students DISD has and yet, they are being thrown away. We have been told that the only reason why NEP is a good choice is because it is cheap. Keeping the cost of the temporary location to a minimum means less money for the Advisory Board to raise.

    What they have missed is that in this move? They lose hundreds of supporters. Thousands of dollars of donations. Much energy. Tremendous amounts of good will that could have been gained. This is one of the saddest chapters ever in Dallas politics. The Advisory Board is building a building but not a school. It is likely there will be few students when the new school opens.

    Do I know what I am talking about? Yes, sir. I am a parent of a current student. I am an architect with 27 years of experience in the design of buildings for public use. And I am a tax payer. It is insulting for anyone to say that this is perfect and it demeans you and D Magazine to say to. The only thing perfect about it is that it is cheap and expedient.

    Tim Rogers · September 8, 2005 11:56 AM

  21. #21
    LH Copycat Columbus Civil's Avatar
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    1. Mold. Yes, sir. DISD had an air quality test done on the second and third floors. A test for dirt. They did not test for mold. Furthermore, they did not test anything in the subterranean basement where most of the academic spaces will be located. If there is no mold, why has DISD not produced a report saying so?
    What are the regulations for mold testing? Wouldn't any building that is being revitalized for use be tested for mold?

    2. Transportation. Many students ride DART to BTW. The closest DART station is 2.5 miles from NEP. DISD has no plans regarding how to get students to NEP. Most students cannot even ride school buses without some sort of car transportation.
    Surely there are bus routes servicing this area??

    6. ADA compliant. Maybe you don’t care, but I do. Grandparents, students, teachers, visitors who are handicap cannot use the building.
    How many other DISD schools are not ADA compliant? Again, wouldn't part of the renovation of this building include bringing it up to code?

    The other reasons look like valid gripes to me. Has anyone suggested a reasonable alternative location?
    Last edited by Columbus Civil; 08 September 2005 at 05:11 PM.
    Dallas uber alles

  22. #22
    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carousel
    RE: BOOKER T.



    Perhaps snarkiness later. For now, I offer equal time to a Booker T. parent who isn't happy about the school's move. From Anita Picozzi Moran, an architect and principal at F & S Partners:



    As I write this my hands are shaking. I cannot believe that you have written such a naïve report about NEP and BTW. NEP is far, far, far from the perfect solution. A few parents are angry? Hundreds of letters have gone to DISD to complain! Dozens of parents and students have spoken to the Board of Trustees. A petition of complaint with more than 300 signatures has been generated. This is for a school with less than 700 students.

    Before you write, please research the subject. NEP is a sad, sad choice. Dozens of students have left the school and more are leaving. Complaints:

    1. Mold. Yes, sir. DISD had an air quality test done on the second and third floors. A test for dirt. They did not test for mold. Furthermore, they did not test anything in the subterranean basement where most of the academic spaces will be located. If there is no mold, why has DISD not produced a report saying so?

    2. Transportation. Many students ride DART to BTW. The closest DART station is 2.5 miles from NEP. DISD has no plans regarding how to get students to NEP. Most students cannot even ride school buses without some sort of car transportation.

    3. The Arts District. Believe it or not, this is not hollow. Our kids walk to events in the Arts District daily for classroom activities. That will be lost. Even if DISD provides transportation there is not time in a period to take a bus back and forth to downtown from BTW to use the Arts District. Classes are already being restructured to take this out of the curriculum. We have lost much in terms of education.

    4. Remote. Volunteers are dropping out…. Too far to get to quickly after work. Events are being moved. Who from the professional arts community will visit NEP for an art show? There is not theater at NEP. There is an auditorium but no fly loft, no dance theater. No windows in art studios. No gallery.

    5. Dilapidated. Last year, Mike Moses said the building would take $8 – $12M to make the building livable. All of a sudden DISD says it can be done for $500,000. They have yet to tell us if they are making the exiting and the fire alarm systems safe.

    6. ADA compliant. Maybe you don’t care, but I do. Grandparents, students, teachers, visitors who are handicap cannot use the building.

    7. Timing. The contents of this school has to be moved in two weeks over Christmas. Already boxes are arriving. Why move now? Because once again, it saves money and reduces what the Advisory Board has to raise. The cost? Attention to the students and academics. If a move has to be made it should be done at the end of the school year not now.

    Angry. You bet. My family has paid taxes for 25 years to DISD. We voted for the bond election on the promise of better facilities, not worse. Our daughter went to BTW with the promise of an urban school, centrally located, culturally diverse, in the arts district with DART transportation. We are loosing all of that. She is a junior. She will never see the new school. We have been told by the Advisory Board that our students are simply collateral damage. Sacrificed for the greater good of Dallas. In theory, these are some of the best students DISD has and yet, they are being thrown away. We have been told that the only reason why NEP is a good choice is because it is cheap. Keeping the cost of the temporary location to a minimum means less money for the Advisory Board to raise.

    What they have missed is that in this move? They lose hundreds of supporters. Thousands of dollars of donations. Much energy. Tremendous amounts of good will that could have been gained. This is one of the saddest chapters ever in Dallas politics. The Advisory Board is building a building but not a school. It is likely there will be few students when the new school opens.

    Do I know what I am talking about? Yes, sir. I am a parent of a current student. I am an architect with 27 years of experience in the design of buildings for public use. And I am a tax payer. It is insulting for anyone to say that this is perfect and it demeans you and D Magazine to say to. The only thing perfect about it is that it is cheap and expedient.

    Tim Rogers · September 8, 2005 11:56 AM

    This guy and all of the other parents that are making such a big "to do" about this really need to calm down. I agree that Arts Magnet is the shining jewel in DISD's crown, but they have to realize that the district isn't exactly rolling in money. Their energy would be better spent trying to raise private funds to put their students in the building that Atmos donated. There are too many schools that need equipment and other improvements. DISD is doing the right thing by trying to make this as cost-effective as possible.

  23. #23
    Please Drive Normally. Random Traffic Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksig121
    This guy and all of the other parents that are making such a big "to do" about this really need to calm down. I agree that Arts Magnet is the shining jewel in DISD's crown, but they have to realize that the district isn't exactly rolling in money. Their energy would be better spent trying to raise private funds to put their students in the building that Atmos donated. There are too many schools that need equipment and other improvements. DISD is doing the right thing by trying to make this as cost-effective as possible.
    Right on (a different opinion of DISD financing aside).

    And since the snarkiness has not showed up yet, I'll add:

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    Has anyone suggested a reasonable alternative location?
    They should stay at BTW during the renovation and help out, learn a real trade that will help them later in life.

    "Deaths on the road are to today's criminal justice system what domestic violence was in the past: as natural & inevitable as the weather."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbus Civil
    Has anyone suggested a reasonable alternative location?

    That's what I don't understand. DISD doesn't just keep empty schools laying around all over the city so that their pwecious wittle babies aren't inconvenienced by the construction of a brand new facility.

    The renovation is a great thing for the Arts District and the school. Some kids are just going to get the hassle without getting the direct payoff of experiencing the new facility. That's life, and the sooner kids learn that their mommies and daddies can't always throw a hissy fit and make everything better the better off they'll be.

    (But maybe I'm missing something that makes all this rational.)

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    Thanks. So they essentially created the Arts Campus to an existing structure named BTW. Makes sense. I appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertB
    With the influx of former New Orleans students -- plus the former Wilmer-Hutchins kids -- will DISD have to adjust their plans? Can they close a school at this point, even for renovations?
    I heard that even with WH, DISD has less people than it had three years ago (this is not counting the NO people, of course).

    In Houston HISD had to open two closed elementary schools to house Reliant people.

  27. #27
    Lakewooder Lakewooder's Avatar
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    I think there were about 50 who showed up at Madison High from Reunion. Of course, Madison could hold about 600 more...

    For some reason, Madison and Roosevelt remain vastly underpopulated while other high schools are overpopulated. I have heard that some of the black leaders do not want the attendance zones changed because then the two schools would no longer be all-black and would, in fact, probably be majority hispanic. I hope I am wrong, but I have heard that many times....

  28. #28
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    In Houston, many traditionally-black schools like Yates and Kashmere pre-Katrina were underpopulated. Many people from neighborhoods zoned to those schools (including African-Americans) who feel like Yates, Kashmere, etc are inadequate would go to other high schools in richer neighborhood that are considered to be all-over better high schools, like Lamar, Bellaire, and Westside (those three schools get many children from well-to-do areas, including River Oaks, and each have about 27% free/reduced lunch). The same goes for middle schools (Lanier is really popular in Houston, and it is followed by schools like Pershing and T.H. Rogers).

    I do not know the current population figures since Katrina people are enrolled at some of the traditionally-black schools, such as Jones, Kashmere, Sterling.


    As for construction, the high school of Performing and Visual Arts in Houston was supposed to get a new campus, but a civil war graveyard was found at the site where the new campus would have been built.

    The Booker T. Washington Dallas people are lucky (There's also a B.T. Washington in Houston, by the way - that school has regular and engineering programs).
    Last edited by Vicman; 09 September 2005 at 08:10 PM.

  29. #29
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    Jacquielynn Floyd:
    Suffering for their art? No, not really




    07:31 PM CDT on Friday, September 9, 2005



    Work will start in a couple of months on a breathtaking $40 million renovation of the historic Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The arts magnet in downtown Dallas, already nationally recognized for training such famed performers as Erykah Badu and Norah Jones, is a cultural jewel, fostering the emerging talents of a diverse student population drawn from across the region.

    The grand makeover, financed in part by wealthy private donors, will take at least a year and a half. In the interim, the 700 Booker T. students will need a temporary home. Dallas school district authorities have decided that the most efficient solution is a short-term relocation to an aged but usable campus in Oak Cliff, about eight miles down Interstate 35E.

    It's going to be an inconvenience for many of the students and their families. For some, it might be a real imposition.

    It is not, however, an injustice. It's not a dark conspiracy to abrogate anybody's "rights." And a lot of the Booker T. parents might be a lot better off if they paused to ponder the difference.

    But from the first mention several months ago of the proposed interim site at the DISD-owned Nolan Estes Plaza, some of these folks started pitching a walleyed fit that's not over yet.

    There have been marches, protests, and petitions; there has been a continual bombardment of press releases. There have been hysterical accusations that gifted teenagers are being cheated and even endangered.

    And there has been an unsavory whiff of snobbery, a hint that students as bright and creative as these are too precious to risk attending classes in a working-class Oak Cliff neighborhood.

    In a widely distributed e-mail this week, one parent drew an oblique parallel between the Booker T. students and victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    "In the midst of the Katrina disaster, as students at Booker T. take in 20 arts students from New Orleans ... they must also continue the fight for their own survival in the arts district," the parent wrote. "They can't be treated as collateral damage."

    Survival? That's an awfully strong word to use in the same sentence as people who barely got out of the disaster zone with their lives.

    Listen, I understand that nothing ratchets up parental emotion more than debate surrounding their children's education. These are parents whose interest and involvement should be commended.

    But the fact is that DISD holds the high cards in this particular poker hand, and the decision has been made. Parents have protested, alternatively, that the Nolan Estes site is too far away, too dangerous, and even too mold-infested to house the Booker T. students. They have said their children will lose the unique opportunities posed by their current location in the Arts District. They want the temporary site to be a vacant office building near current location.

    District officials have said that counter-proposal is just too expensive for what will be, at most, two years. They say they'll work with the parents on transportation issues. They conducted an air-quality study to assure parents that the Nolan Estes site needs some sprucing up, but it isn't toxic.

    Nothing doing. In a press release sent out this week, another Booker T. parent asked, "Is a windowless, dank dungeon below ground and eight miles from downtown the place to park the most creative and brightest students in all of DISD? ... Why should my daughter and countless others like her be refused a beautiful transition space?"

    "Beautiful transition space?" I dunno, precious few students in the DISD enjoy a "beautiful space" at all. They have utilitarian beige buildings – some with crowded portable satellite classrooms – and there's no lovely new $40 million campus on the horizon, either.

    The Nolan Estes site isn't a subterranean hellhole. It looks pretty much like what it is – an old, 1960s-era shopping plaza that has undergone government-budget remodeling to house classrooms and administrative offices. It's already the site of two elementary schools and a preschool, so it's apparently safe enough for your average 8-year-old.

    It's certainly not ideal, but did the students – who had to audition and sit on a waiting list to get into Booker T. in the first place – choose the school for the quality of instruction, or for the building?

    The parents fought hard, but it's time for them to gracefully consider this battle lost. They'll teach their kids that sometimes things don't turn out the way you want. Sometimes you just have to make the best of what you get.

    It's a disappointment, but it's not a tragedy. There's a difference.

  30. #30
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    RE: BOOKER T.

    To all the Booker T. Washington parents who've e-mailed or called me to take issue with my post last week: you can now direct your e-mail and calls to Jacquielynn Floyd. Her take on the deal was solid, especially where she noted an "unsavory whiff of snobbery."



    Tim Rogers · 09:02 AM

  31. #31
    Moderator jsoto3's Avatar
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    Design unveiling is today at the DMA, 4:30 (open to public, free).
    Architect: Allied Works

    The schematic design has been made public for a long time, so I don't know if this is for an updated design or just a presentation of the refined design.
    Last edited by jsoto3; 20 October 2005 at 12:19 PM.

  32. #32
    Administrator gc's Avatar
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    ^ Read about this in todays paper. I know pictures do not always do things justice, but I like this design.
    “We shape our Cities, thereafter they shape us.”

  33. #33
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
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    Yeah, looks like a winner.

  34. #34
    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    Awesome! I can't wait.

  35. #35
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    was there a new picture in the paper today? This is of such crucial importance to the development of Dallas as an artistic hub as well as a business one... I hope it lives up to its potential.

  36. #36
    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    It's in the paper. BTW if anyone is planning to go to the unveiling at the DMA, you need to call the number in the caption to RSVP. It will be in the Horchow Auditorium.

  37. #37
    Moderator jsoto3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msutton
    was there a new picture in the paper today? This is of such crucial importance to the development of Dallas as an artistic hub as well as a business one... I hope it lives up to its potential.
    Look at the architect's website (linked in my post above). It doesn't have the best navigation, but you can get there. It is the 6th project icon from the top on the right of the page once you are in their projects section. Once one the project page, go to "Project Desciption" and click white bars to see images.

  38. #38
    Moderator jsoto3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksig121
    It's in the paper. BTW if anyone is planning to go to the unveiling at the DMA, you need to call the number in the caption to RSVP. It will be in the Horchow Auditorium.
    Anyone have the number handy?

  39. #39
    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    214.468.8647

  40. #40
    Moderator jsoto3's Avatar
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    ^Thanks, I'm going.

  41. #41
    Skyscraper Member ksig121's Avatar
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    I'll see you there.

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    I'll be there too.

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    Questions hang in the air for arts magnet



    DISD said plaza needed $3 million in work, but it's spending $699,000




    09:46 PM CST on Sunday, October 30, 2005



    By KENT FISCHER / The Dallas Morning News



    The roof leaked so badly in 2001 that rainwater turned a wall in office 204-A to mush and shorted out an electrical outlet.

    Secretaries in office suite 100 complained of chronic headaches, watery eyes and continuous sneezing the next year. As recently as March 2004, the building's maintenance supervisor reported a "mold concern throughout the building."

    All over, ceiling tiles and insulation turned black beneath a constantly dripping air-conditioning system, according to district records for the last five years reviewed by The Dallas Morning News.

    That was daily life for many employees assigned to the Dallas school district's Nolan Estes Educational Plaza, an old shopping mall converted years ago into administrative offices. Now, the building known to parents and workers as "the dungeon" is about to become home to the district's arts magnet high school.

    <!-- Refer begins here -->Also Online Air quality records that didn't exist appear after board action



    <!-- Refer ends here -->Nolan Estes' troubled history – which includes a judge declaring it "unfit" for students in 1985 – has parents worried and the district rushing to remedy years of air quality problems and neglected maintenance before classes start on Jan. 4.

    The district is spending $699,000 for extensive work, including reconfiguring rooms, replacing ceilings, cleaning and redesigning the air-conditioning system. But district documents with the 2002 bond program put the cost of fixing the building's "critical deficiencies" at more than $3 million.

    Despite the renovations, dozens of parents are not convinced that the building will be free of the mold and air quality problems that employees say persisted right up until renovations started just a few weeks ago.

    Students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts will spend two years in the building while their old campus is renovated and expanded – a $47 million project being jointly financed by the Dallas Independent School District and local arts supporters.

    "We are taking care of all the problems that were reported to us," Ron Peace, the district deputy superintendent in charge of the renovation, said Friday. "In the end, we will have a facility free of air quality concerns."

    DISD decided to move arts students to Nolan Estes only after explorations into using the Universities Center – a downtown facility shared by several area colleges – fell through this spring.

    Parents of several dozen students have protested the move for months. They don't like the building's location in west Oak Cliff, miles from the downtown arts district. They're skeptical that the district can rehabilitate the building so quickly and for so little money. They say administrators have withheld information about the building's history and state of repair.

    "We are quite concerned about the air quality at Nolan Estes," said parent Rick Bentley. "It is hard to believe anything [DISD] tells us."

    15 complaints in 5 years
    Over the last five years, Nolan Estes employees complained at least 15 times of poor air quality and mold and said they suffered from watery eyes, chronic allergies, headaches and sinus infections, district records show. At least seven of the rooms that were identified are now being converted into classrooms and practice space for about 750 arts students.

    District records show that employee requests for maintenance and environmental tests at the building were usually met with stopgap fixes, such as replacing moldy ceiling tiles or installing new air-conditioning filters. Employees interviewed by The News say their concerns were not taken seriously and little was ever done to fix the root causes of the problem: a dilapidated air-conditioning system and a roof that leaked chronically.

    "It took three or four calls to supervisors before somebody came out," said Patricia Cheatham, who worked in the building for six years as a health education specialist. "There was no ventilation, no fresh air. Finally, when they came out and did the testing, they said the air quality was poor. They suggested I bring in a fan."

    Mrs. Cheatham no longer works for the district. But her old office, Room 204-A, is scheduled to become classroom space for students.

    The mere presence of mold isn't always a health concern. It can cause problems for people sensitive to it and for those who have allergies and asthma. Symptoms can include irritated eyes, scratchy throats, sneezing and runny noses.

    There is no practical way to eliminate all mold from an indoor environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The best way to control mold, the agency says, is to control moisture in the building.

    In January 2000, employees reported problems in a suite of offices on the lowest level of Nolan Estes "A" building – rooms that will become practice space for the arts magnet's orchestra.

    "Teachers having headaches ..." states a work order from that office suite. "Secretaries having headaches and watery eyes. [A supervisor] showed the [Indoor Air quality] department where ... the walls are peeling and mold is growing on the wall."

    A Feb. 2001 work order states "IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] concern throughout building," but the line indicating when the problem was investigated and how it was remedied was left blank.

    Mold in 2004
    As recently as March 2004, the building's maintenance supervisor reported mold problems in the building, according to another work order. The paperwork indicated that three workers spent a total of 10 hours on the problem, but it does not indicate what the workers found, or what they did about it.

    In 2002, a consultant hired to evaluate district buildings found that, at Nolan Estes, "many employees complain of breathing problems" and that the building's fiberglass ceiling "is unhealthy." That report, conducted in preparation for the 2002 bond program, stated that the full facility – roughly half of which will be used for the arts magnet – had more than $3.6 million in "critical deficiencies."

    District officials say that estimate is not germane to the current project, because it assessed what was needed to make Nolan Estes habitable for an extended period of time. The renovation currently under way is only designed to address needs for the two years arts students will occupy the building, Mr. Peace said.

    To that end, the district is spending $699,000 – $152,000 of which is allocated for architect fees. The next largest items in the renovation plan are electrical upgrades ($164,000), technology upgrades ($85,000) and paint ($52,000).

    "We really think that it will be habitable for the time that [the students] will be using it," said Larry Zerby, the executive director of the district's facilities, planning and construction department.

    However, district trustee Lew Blackburn recently ripped the administration's handling of the whole affair.

    "There is no detailed plan addressing the environmental concerns," he said at a public meeting last month.

    Nor did he see an adequate plan to fix the roof, a prime concern because it leaks "chronically," according to former members of the building's maintenance staff and the district's indoor air quality consultant who evaluated the building in September.

    The district will perform "spot repairs" to the roof, Mr. Zerby said. While acknowledging that the repairs were not what "we would do if we were going to occupy the building long-term," he said the roof repairs "will be adequate."

    The air quality consultant who found serious problems with the roof stated that the district needed to conduct tests for mold between the building's walls and floors, called "destructive sampling."

    DISD, however, did not follow that advice. Instead, administrators stated in a report dated Sept. 20 that the consultant gave them only "recommendations for minor improvements."

    The district's report does not mention the consultant's finding that the full extent of the mold problem could not be determined without the additional tests.

    District spokesman Donald Claxton said in an e-mail to The News that the additional tests weren't done because the walls were going to be torn down anyway, so there was no need to spend more money on tests.

    To many parents, the decision to forgo the tests only bolsters their belief that administrators were not concerned with what might be behind the walls and between the floors. Why else would they push ahead with a $699,000 renovation without knowing how widespread the problem was? asked parent Lynn Metz.

    "This was a done deal," she said. "Demolition was occurring prior to the night [trustees] voted on the [renovation] budget."

    Mr. Zerby said crews have torn down most of the interior walls, and they did not find any unexpected problems. When they do find mold, the district has experts on hand to take care of it, he said.

    "We're dealing with it as we find it, but we've not found anything that we didn't expect," he said.

    The district-hired indoor air quality consultant also found that the HVAC system was so dilapidated that it was unable to control humidity adequately. Parts of the system were covered in mold, and it was sucking in air from between walls and crawl spaces, he wrote.

    Three years ago, the district's bond-related facilities study deemed the building's HVAC system a "critical deficiency" and called for its replacement at an estimated $1.09 million.

    Mr. Zerby said the system won't be replaced, although new ductwork is being installed in some areas and the overall airflow is being redesigned by engineers. In addition, the district has hired a company to clean the air conditioning system's coils, ducts, drip pans and air dispersers.

    He said those repairs should be adequate, "as long as we monitor it continuously. We think the system will work just fine."

    He added that since the interior walls were taken down, the air quality throughout the building has improved.

    "We're trying to be transparent here, said Mr. Peace. "We believe this is a good building, a good place for children. This will be done right."

    Still, parents are unconvinced that a building with two decades of serious maintenance problems can be fixed so easily.

    "I don't see how they can make that building inhabitable, with as many problems as they've had over there," said parent Bonnie Lucio. "Their mind is made up. They're under pressure to get this issue behind them."

    E-mail kfischer@dallasnews.com

  44. #44
    High-Rise Member UrbanHope's Avatar
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    But wait, there's more...

    :angryfire And if your kids are going to be at Nolan Estes, they will be next to this wonderful hot-sheet motel. I wrote about it (full article and link below). I encourage any concerned parents to come out to the City Plan Commission meeting on Thursday November 10th.

    http://www.dallasarena.com/s051031davis.htm

    10/31/05 Shady Dealings on the City Plan Commission

    Special use permit change (Zoning Case Z045-158)


    This case concerns the renewal of a Special Use Permit for the Interstate Motel at 109 W. Overton (at Beckley). This motel is right near I-35 and Overton Road in Oak Cliff. The motel needs this permit to continue to operate. The community is dead set against this motel getting a renewal of this permit, but the District 4 Planning Commissioner (Angela Marshall) keeps trying her hardest to get it approved.

    This is a hot-sheet motel that maintains an “anything goes” mentality. The motel is owned by the Patel family which owns and operates similar motels throughout Dallas and beyond.

    They have no meeting rooms or anything of that sort. They have nothing but cheap rooms by the hour (or $19.95 per night) that can be used for prostitution, drug dealing, and whatever other crime can be dreamed up by its occupants. Do you know that when drug dealers come from out of town that they hole up in these motels until the deal goes down? You know now.

    If you’re a sexual predator, you have a place to stay at the Interstate Motel! Easy access to kids and anonymity will fuel their sick minds. The Nolan Estes Center and three schools (two elementary schools and a pre-K Head Start school) are directly adjacent to the motel. A GED center is across the street, and a hospital, South Oak Cliff high school, and two churches are within a one block radius. In addition, this motel is directly across from homeowners who are subjected to random crime because of its existence. As if that isn’t bad enough that there are 15 registered sex offenders in a 2-block radius!

    If kids or seniors want to go to the park or playground, they have to walk by the motel. When children have to go to school, they have to walk by the motel.

    My understanding is that if a Planning Commissioner doesn’t support something in his/her district, that pretty much kills the deal. Why hasn’t that happened?

    I cannot for the life of me understand why the District 4 Plan Commissioner won’t stop supporting this motel. She is the main person that’s keeping it alive. What are her motives? I’m not sure, you’ll have to ask her.

    This hearing has been postponed and been taken under advisement an unheard of 4 times in 6 months!

    Here is the zoning case history:

    April 28th - Held under advisement,
    June 2nd - Held under advisement,
    July 14th – Held under advisement, only 3 votes shown in favor
    August 11th - Held under advisement,
    Coming up again on November 10th, and they still don’t have the votes.

    What does that tell you about what other commissioners (save a few) think about this deal?

    Now I hear that there will be a bus tour of the site. To have a tour is pointless, because the tour will occur during the middle of the day when things are as quiet as possible. I would also bet that the Patels, who own many of these seedy crime-ridden motels across the metroplex, will have the property looking its best since they probably have been tipped off about the tour. How convenient!

    Here is the criminal history:

    45 calls in the last 4 years (27 in 2004 alone). And the crime has continued in 2005 (18 since the beginning of the year). Among the crimes are aggravated assaults, disturbances, and car thefts.
    Everyone is making a big deal about the donations made by the Patels to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. I say, SO WHAT! So if a donation is made we are supposed to turn the other cheek? This is just like a drug dealer that gives out free turkeys who passes out turkeys during Thanksgiving. A drug dealer is a drug dealer and a slumlord hot-sheet motel owner is a slumlord hot-sheet motel owner.

    The neighbors don’t want it, the schools don’t want it, and the community as a whole doesn’t want it.

    So maybe the CPC person in District 4 thinks it’s OK for a hot-sheet motel to be in the same block as several schools. I don’t! And neither does the community.

    We have a chance to rid the community of a haven for prostitution, drugs, and crime. This community has suffered enough. If the District 4 Planning Commissioner would stop hindering us, we could do it.

    I am disgusted that anyone could support such a place.

    Would YOU want this across the street from your house and next to FOUR schools and a community hospital in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

    Elected officials and commission members should represent the community, not their own self-interests. Why is the community being ignored?
    Last edited by UrbanHope; 31 October 2005 at 01:44 PM.

  45. #45
    Stuck in the past clipper's Avatar
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    And again, they have been offered free use the the Lone Star Gas/Atmos Energy building in downtown but the DISD turned it's nose up. There were hundreds of people in offices in that building a few months ago. It has a large cafeteria, etc. in great shape. It could certainly house a school for a bit and is within walking district of the Arts District. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  46. #46
    High-Rise Member UrbanHope's Avatar
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    Where'd you get that clipper? just curious.

  47. #47
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    Have the disgruntled parents offered any alternative locations?
    Dallas uber alles

  48. #48
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    It's no big secret. The parents and the school okayed the alternate plan with the city and hauled the school district execs over to the Atmos building to give them a tour and they all just sniffed and said forget about it. What's not talked about a lot in this is many of these kids use DART to get there and that's not going to work down on I-35. Much of the Atmos buildings are set up with office cubicals and such so it would be no bother to reconfig as larger areas for classrooms, etc. But apparently the DISD decided this from day one and won't hear anything else. What gripes me is they are going to throw $600k of my tax money in a rotten old building that needs to be torn down. And it means that the number of kids at the arts magnet will plunge for the time it's down in that rat's nest.

  49. #49
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    That's disheartening
    Dallas uber alles

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    Does anyone have a rendering?

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