The Dallas Independent School District unveiled a plan Thursday to rebuild and reimagine properties destroyed by October's tornado.
The plan will merge Walnut Hill Elementary, Cary Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School into two campuses adjacent to each other on the existing Thomas Jefferson High School property.
All three schools were severely damaged by the October tornado, but DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said insurance adjusters believe only Cary Middle School to be a complete loss, which means the district could miss out on millions in insurance money.
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"Our insurance coverage is going to cover a half, maybe two-thirds of the cost," Hinojosa said. "So the question is where do we pay for the rest of it."
Hinojosa told reporters the new consolidated campus would likely cost in excess of $100 million. The district, he said, had cash reserves to cover what insurance, expected to amount to be over $60 million, doesn't cover but he remained optimistic bond money and other funding options would fill the void.
The headline of the new project would be a brand new Walnut Hill International Languages Academy," enrolling students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Cary Middle School would be eliminated and Thomas Jefferson rebuilt, according to Hinojosa. The superintendent said he hoped the existing Walnut Hill Elementary School could be salvaged in some form and used as a district career center.
The plan was presented Thursday to trustees, who were largely supportive.
"I'm intrigued by this plan," trustee Dan Micciche said. "This is an opportunity I don't think we should pass up."
Community meetings are planned to allow the public to weigh in before any plans are finalized.
"I hope that we will stay true to promises to have community meetings on this," trustee Dustin Marshall said.
Hinojosa said he hoped to have the new campuses completed as early as August 2022.
"Relocating the kids was sprint, we got that done overnight, he said. "But now, the marathon is how do you rebuild the buildings?"