By: Elizabeth McNamara | Published: Feb 25, 2019 | Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Lake Highlands High School’s long-awaited construction project was announced in November of 2018 and officially started on Feb. 22, 2019, about three months after the plans were publicized.
I sat down with Lake Highlands Associate Principal, Andru Gilbert, to discuss the overdue topic of the construction that is causing delays in parking and passing periods.
“There was a small issue with them [the construction crew] being able to pull permits from the city of Dallas, which is why they haven’t broken ground yet, but I’ve been told they should break ground in the next couple of days,” Gilbert explained to me.
Fences and covered walkways were set up during the winter break and was blocking most of the entrances need for students to get to class on time. The issue caused the administration to enforce new designated entrances and exits making students walk farther to get to classes. To help, the administration changed the bell schedule and added an extra minute to the existing seven minute passing periods.
Not only is construction at Lake Highlands, but across the street at the recreation center has now entered its tenth month that started last April. When asked if the project affected the construction at the high school, Gilbert said that the project had nothing to do with our construction trouble.
“It was a zoning issue,” Gilbert explained. “There are bound to be problems when you’re putting another building on an existing property.”
“The project was originally intended to be a couple more classrooms, but then when the decision was made to bring the campuses together, we really needed something to unify the two buildings,” Gilbert said.
The project is going to be built in two phases, starting with the connector between the two schools. A new cafeteria that will hold 900 to 1,000 students is set to be built to replace the now four cafeteria options. A new library will replace the existing one. In addition there will be a new indoor facility to replace the outdoor practice field.
“It’s going to be a two-year process,” Gilbert further explained to me.
The construction project is set to be completed by 2021.
The issue of parking was also brought up in our conversation. The school has three main parking areas, the J lot, the S lot and the Stadium lot. Many parking spots were taken up for zoning purposes. When asked Gilbert explained that no more spots would be taken, and if students wanted to get a good parking spot that they would have to get to school earlier.
“We’re setting up to be one campus,” Gilbert said. “One family.”