S. Oak Cliff HS students start in new location while old building ungoes renovations

Students at South Oak Cliff High School are getting ready to start the new year in a new building.

The move comes after years of complaints about the 66-year-old school's structural and interior issues.

While the school is getting a $52 million renovation, students will be attending classes at Village Fair.

"When I was going to this school, we didn't have any great resources, the school was falling apart," said Michael Berry, a former South Oak Cliff High School student.

Berry says going to school there was distracting because of all the building's issues.

"Like when I was walking down the hallway one day, we were standing on the wall and one of those pillars fell down," he said.  "There was one week, there were all exposed wires, for a whole week, there were exposed wires dangling in the hallways."

But for the last two years, community members like Horace Bradshaw teamed up with the NAACP and other community groups to finally get changes underway.

"We started seeing incidents where the roof was leaking, rodents in the school, kids getting sick because they were working on the asbestos without telling them," said Bradshaw, the vice president of South Oak Cliff Alumni Bear Cave.

Bradshaw graduated from South Oak Cliff in 1977 and all three of his sons graduated from there.

He says this week's move to Village Fair is the first step toward getting a newly improved school, but the move didn't come easy.

"These things have been going on for years, but I think it's because we have come together," said Bradshaw.

Through community meetings and voicing their opinion to the school board, the community was able to increase the money for the much-needed renovation," said Bradshaw. “They offered us $9 million, and we knew then that wasn't going to get us anything but just lipstick on the pig."

They finally got what they wanted: $52 million to renovate South Oak Cliff High School. The renovations are expected to start this month and finish in time for the start of the 2019 - 2020 school year.

"We want South Oak Cliff to be a wow effect, when they drive down Marsalis, they'll look over at this school and say wow, look at that," said Bradshaw.

Students and teachers will start classes there Tuesday.

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