Dallas-Area School District Undertakes $110M Building Plan

Balfour Beatty has teamed up with the Highland Park Independent School District on an elementary school construction and renovation program.

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

Rendering courtesy of Stantec
Rendering courtesy of Stantec

Dallas—It’s almost like a game of “Musical Schools.” Over the next five years, the Highland Park Independent School District in suburban Dallas will be methodically tearing down three of its elementary schools, renovating the fourth and building a fifth (though not in that order), all to the tune of about $110 million.

Balfour Beatty US, one of the nation’s largest building contractors, will be the general contractor and construction manager, and Stantec Inc. of Edmonton, Alberta, is designing the four new schools.

The key to the whole process, according to an announcement earlier this week by Balfour Beatty, is the first step, the construction of the new school, which will serve as the “swing” facility that will accommodate the faculty and students who are displaced as their new schools are built over the following three years.

This first phase is already underway and marks the district’s first new elementary school since 1948. Sited on 4.6 acres, the new 100,000-square-foot school will incorporate flexible learning spaces, outdoor classrooms, a learning garden and a 90-space underground parking garage.

On completion of the first school in summer 2017, Balfour Beatty will begin demolition and construction of replacement buildings for the three remaining schools in successive 13-month cycles. Each of the 100,000-square-foot replacement schools also will include underground parking garages.

In addition to the four new elementary schools in the program, the HPISD’s fifth elementary school will undergo renovations that include a 7,900-square-foot addition, while the school remains operational.

The new HPISD schools reportedly will meet the standards established by the Collaborative for High Performing Schools for energy efficiency, water conservation and resource reduction.

The Highland Park Independent School District covers about 6.2 square miles immediately north of downtown Dallas in the suburbs of Highland Park, University Park and a small part of North Dallas. The district serves about 33,600 residents and currently enrolls about 7,090 students; it employs nearly 800 people, including more than 450 teachers, at four elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school and one high school.