DALLAS — There are some big plans in the works for a Dallas Independent School District building that's been shut down for three years.
Last week, school administrators approved re-opening Bonham Elementary as Dallas ISD's first all-girls school with a focus on sciences and the arts.
A blue ribbon still hangs outside the old elementary school in East Dallas. Closed for three years due to declining enrollment and a push by the district to save money, the building appears to still be in good condition.
Plans are now in the works to re-open Bonham as an all-girls school with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, known as S.T.E.A.M."There have been so many kids coming into the neighborhood," said Noreen Cabrera, who lives nearby. "You go to the park there's strollers. It looks like there are about 50 new kids in Cochran Heights."
Chief of Dallas ISD's Office of Transformation and Innovation, Mike Kaprowski says the board of trustees approved turning Bonham into a S.T.E.A.M. academy serving female students in kindergarten through eighth grade .
"We know that young girls are often facing false stereotypes about what they can and cannot do in math and science," Kaprowski said. "So, this school is about busting those stereotypes and showing that all kids can be great."
Bonham will be Dallas ISD's newest Choice School, offering a non-traditional approach to learning.
"There's no money that would be pulled from any existing neighborhood school to go into this school," Kaprowski said.
Dallas ISD hopes the school and its central location will attract a diverse group of young women from across the city when it re-opens in August 2016.
"I think that's awesome," Cabrera said. "I have a daughter who's three. She'll be starting school. For her to be able to walk to school from where I live is just awesome."
Dallas ISD will begin a vigorous marketing campaign before next fall. Administrators say their goal is to have an equal balance of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. For now, crews will be spending time getting Bonham ready for its first classes.