With Renovations Delayed, Students Anticipate 2020 Return to South Oak Cliff High School

Horace Bradshaw says his affection for South Oak Cliff High School runs deep.

"My mother and father both graduated in 1977 from South Oak Cliff; I graduated in 1999; my middle brother graduated in 2000; my younger brother graduated in 2005 from South Oak Cliff," he said.

His son will continue the family tradition when he graduates in a couple of years.

"This school means everything for me. The tradition, the background," he said.

But the last several months have been a roller coaster of emotions. The school won't be ready come the start of the school yearA major renovation project is delayed, meaning the school won't be ready until the start of 2020.

"Again? OK, one more semester. Now we’re just hoping by December that they'll be like, 'OK, South Oak Cliff is ready to go,' so we don't have any other mix-ups."

Dallas school officials said the $52 million project was still underway. The fight for better conditions at the school goes back several years. There was a request for a brand new building, and a staged walkout in 2016. Roughly 1,100 students are impacted by the delay.

Bradshaw said he felt better about the progress now, but the process has been frustrating.

"When you put $52 million on a brand new building you expect to walk into something grand," he said. "But then to push something back because of something they failed to do in the beginning, gives me a little cause for concern."

In the meantime, students will remain at Village Fair. Even extracurricular like football are held elsewhere. Bradshaw said they've been transparent with the students, and they feel it will be worth the wait.

Senior Donajz Dunn said he anticipated spending his last semester enjoying the upgrades.

"It's a good look for the community," Dunn said. "Better classrooms, the hallways, a new gym, new football field. Everything."

Bradshaw said he agreed that the updates would have a far-reaching impact.

"It's something the community needs. It's going to make the kids feel better about coming to school. To see a new building, new piping, new water. A new atmosphere," he said. "You want all kids to have the best. If they have a great environment to learn, if they have a great environment to sit and to be able to be taught, they will learn."

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