W.A. Blair Elementary School

The Blair Elementary School Expansion and Renovation, in the southeastern part of Dallas, was part of the DISD 2008 $1.1 Billion Bond Program which provided upgrades across the entire DISD system. Due in part to th+a's successful completion of five school renovation projects for the 2004 Bond Program, DISD selected our firm for a number of their latest renovation and expansion projects.

Like many overburdened schools in the district, Blair was providing for a much larger student population than originally planned. For years, many classes were held in antiquated portable buildings. The addition, which incorporated eight new 4th and 5th grade classrooms, a new Music Room and a new Art Room, was meant to permanently replace the portable buildings.

From three design schemes developed by th+a, the District chose one which featured a distinctively curved two-story corridor and classroom design. This creative solution for the addition linked two open-ended school corridors, providing a more secure circulation loop within the school and forming a new paved and landscaped exterior teaching courtyard to enhance the school's program.

By selecting brick to match the existing school building but incorporating expanses of aluminum and glass curtain wall, the design team created a seamless connection without sacrificing the opportunity to provide a more contemporary light-filled design. The building addition leveraged an existing dead-end elevator lobby and made it a part of a new spacious entrance area, forming a strong link between old and new construction. A monumental new stairway connects the first and second floors to improve the efficiency of movement throughout the school.

Other improvements made within the main school building included new exterior windows throughout, interior painting of all public spaces, new classroom doors and hardware with teacher lockdown capability, upgrades to student toilet rooms, new signage, and exterior paving improvements at the student entrance and the teacher parking lot.