DALLAS -- The conditions inside South Oak Cliff High School have been a hot topic that's been on the minds of many students and parents for months.
“It’s been very grueling,” said Pastor Maxie Johnson, president of the South Oak Cliff Parent’s Coalition.
Now, after much debate, Dallas Independent School District’s staff and board members are beginning to discuss a plan that parents suggested to relocate more than 1,300 students from South Oak Cliff’s campus to the Village Fair building. It is a major consideration, as contractors tackle a $52 million renovation project at South Oak Cliff later in the year.
"When we had a meeting, we told them we want our kids out of the building, so the contractors could do whatever they need to do and make sure our kids is in a safe situation," said Johnson.
Johnson is among those who say the campus has its fair share of problems. Students have documented many of the issues -- from the leaking ceilings, to mold, gas leaks, overheated classrooms, water quality concerns, and rodents.
Stephanie Elizalde is Dallas ISD’s Chief of School Leadership. She was scheduled to propose a relocation plan for South Oak Cliff, during a briefing meeting with the Board of Trustees on Thursday.
"We’re in a unique situation that we have a location that is not too far," said Elizalde.
Elizalde says the staff recognizes the community’s safety concerns during a renovation and believes there are some benefits relocating the students to the Village Fair building in December.
"While I recognize that was a major concern for our community, I also want to not set a precedent that that becomes an expectation as we move toward many of our schools having construction," Elizalde explained.
Village Fair is less than one mile from South Oak Cliff High School. It is currently used for the Districts alternative school program.
Dallas ISD staff also proposes using $2.5 million South Oak Cliff’s bond funds to get Village Fair ready for the students.
Elizalde says relocating the students could also cut down the construction time.
”The cost of the bid will also be reflective of that timeline,” she explained. “So you end up with reduced bids coming in on construction costs.”
If approved, South Oak Cliff students would spend the second semester of next school year in Village Fair. Staff currently in this building could possibly transition to nearby Nolan Estes campus.