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District pursuing transparency with neighborhoods surrounding construction projects

As the district rolls out an extensive schedule of eagerly awaited school improvements, Construction Services is committed to honesty and transparency with communities located near ongoing construction. Design charettes, zoning change meetings, and regular sessions with stakeholders are a few ways the district is engaging with the community throughout the design and construction process.

“The department is committed to act as a good neighbor by keeping our communities abreast of the progress of construction and to earn their trust by being honest about aspects of the construction that may cause headaches for nearby residents,” said Brent Alfred, deputy chief of Construction Services.

An example of this commitment is now in play in the community surrounding Bryan Adams High School where the creation of a required fire lane behind the school has affected the grading of nearby Ash Creek. Construction crews removed a stretch of trees and brush near the creek that neighbors fear will accelerate erosion, possibly damaging the creek ecosystem.

Alfred and Dallas ISD District 3 Trustee Dan Micciche recently met with residents whose homes surround the creek to view the excavation and discuss the homeowners’ concerns. While acknowledging that the removal of established plantings presents a challenge, Alfred said Dallas ISD engineers are working with the city and the contractor to learn if the extent of the excavation was essential to the planned construction and aligns with the approved construction plans.

“While I hope this inquiry will reveal what we can do to prevent future situations like this, our plan now is to move forward to mitigate the potential erosion of soil into Ash Creek,” Alfred said.

In the near term, the district will install netting and hay bales in the excavated area to forestall soil washing into the creek. Plans are also to replant the area and add landscaping to restore some of the stability of the creek wall. Ultimately, the district will construct a sandstone retaining wall to separate the creek from the school property.

In addition to ongoing meetings with homeowners to share updates of mitigation efforts, Alfred said the architectural and construction plans and future information on the progress of the $69M Bryan Adams renovation/addition project will be posted to the district’s bond website.

As the dozens of planned construction projects funded with the $3.5B 2020 bond program move forward, Alfred said his team is committed to transparency, maintaining open communication and listening to the concerns of the surrounding community. “We are indebted to the voters for entrusting us with the funding to make these improvements. We owe it to them to be responsive and trustworthy partners.”