DALLAS — Plans for a brand new school building are in the works for a community in southern Dallas.
During a press conference outside O.W. Holmes Middle School, on Tuesday, Dallas Independent School District administrators announced The John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W. Holmes will soon be a reality in the coming years.
The new campus is expected to be completed in 2024.
Students, administrators and community members gathered on campus for the announcement. The group marched outside the school, in symbolic fashion, and in honor of former congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.
The march and the announcement marked a major moment in southern Dallas.
“I’m happy to announce that O.W. Holmes will now be the John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W. Holmes,” Dallas ISD Trustee Maxie Johnson told the crowd.
The new John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W. Holmes will be the first new campus Dallas ISD is building in this community in years. It’s part of an $80 million investment.
It’s an investment Trustee Johnson calls long overdue.
“When you are talking about equity in the African American community, this is what this looks like,” Johnson said.
Recent bond projects have supported renovations at different schools across Southern Dallas. Yet, critics have long been crying for brand new educations spaces in communities that often feel neglected.
“To actually have a state-of-the-art, a brand new secondary school, or middle school, here in the southern part of Dallas, it’s phenomenal. It’s huge. It’s history being made,” Johnson explained.
The current school building is named after Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. The legal scholar served as an associate Supreme Court Justice from 1902 to 1931. Holmes’ name will remain part of the moniker of the new school that’s adding John Lewis in its primary title. Lewis, who died in 2020, was nationally recognized for his lifetime commitment to social justice and civil rights.
Moving forward, Dallas ISD administrators say they are planning to make sure community members are part of the design process.
“It’s going to be a beautiful building in a few years,” Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said.