The Impossible Dream

Photo by Emily Charrier

For years, parents of students walking between Lake Highlands High School and the Freshman Center have complained about the hassles of making the trek. Punishment for being late to class, showing up soaked from the rain and worries about security are just a few objections often brought to principals, PTA meetings and the school board. All those entities have considered ways to build a covered walkway between the buildings to keep students dry.

The answer was always the same – it can’t be done.

There’s a fire lane running between the Freshman Center and the school, and any covered walkway would pass through and interfere with the fire lane. Conventional wisdom was that the fire lane could not be moved.

Never say never.

The high school is in the early stages of a major expansion and renovation project funded by the 2016 bond, including transformation of its library, extensive upgrades to its HVAC and plumbing systems, a brand new multipurpose activity center and construction of 24 new classrooms. Architects on the project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, have spoken to the City of Dallas, which says “it’s possible” to move the fire lane northward on the property and build classrooms or a covered walkway to close the gap.

The plans are still in the development phase and must go to the Dallas City Plan Commission for approval. 

When the Freshman Center first opened in 1998, few of its students spent any of their days on the main campus. Freshmen had their own principal, their own counselors and a separate (and smaller) catalog of freshman-only courses. Today, there is more movement between the two buildings, but the expansion would go even further in unifying the campus, keeping Wildcats together instead of isolating underclassmen