There are new problems with the recently renovated South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas and new promises for repairs.
It comes after many years of negotiation with the community about the building.
Back in 2015, students staged a walkout over conditions that had trash cans and buckets around the building to catch water from leaky plumbing and the roof.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Community leaders demanded a new building but the district instead agreed to a $52 million renovation that was supposed to fix the problems.
But blue tarps now cover parts of the roof where water has been coming in again. And there’s a new image of a trash can collecting water from the ceiling in the cafeteria.
“The old problem is the new problem,” said Dallas ISD Trustee Maxie Johnson. “We still have leaks in certain parts of the building.”
Johnson was a parent protest leader in the push for a new building. Since then he was elected to the school board with the promise to keep fighting for the neighborhood.
“I guarantee under my leadership, this is being solved right now. So, you have workers in the building working on the leaks and we have identified the leaks and they will be complete. We will fix it,” Johnson said.
Dallas ISD Assistant Superintendent for facilities David Bates said roof issues are under warranty and a problem with mechanical equipment on the roof is being repaired.
“It didn’t help that we had like eight straight days of rain but part of that mechanical system did come undone and that’s where a majority of the water was coming through and it was right there in the cafeteria area,” Bates said.
The administrator said meetings with the trustee, the school principal and the community have produced a list of repairs to be completed by the building contractor and by school district maintenance staff.
“I think they have a really nice product and I think they’ll have an even better product when we get done with the list that we’ve created with the principal. And on that list are some other community wants, and we’re committed to doing a lot of those as well,” Bates said.
The list was to be shared at a Parent Teacher Association meeting Thursday night.
South Oak Cliff seniors are back for the final weeks of school but many other students still have distance learning so there aren’t many students in the building.
Bates said some work will be done on evenings and weekends and some will be outside to avoid disturbing the learning environment.
Trustee Johnson said he will be watching to see that new promises are kept.
“We’ve got to be sure that when we are investing millions of dollars into our facility, that they are done the right way and we can’t hide the truth. That’s old politics. We’ve got to be honest with our constituents,” Johnson said.
Bates said the leak issues were not the result of the winter storm that caused damage to many other school buildings. In fact, South Oak Cliff High School was a warming station for neighbors during that time.