DISD breaks ground to rebuild expand historic arts magnet

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in May to mark the beginning of construction to rebuild and expand Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

The original arts magnet building, a historic landmark built in 1922, will be completely renovated and remodeled. The school also will be expanded by 168,000 square feet. The new wing will house classrooms, laboratories, performance areas, a performance hall, dining area, kitchen, media center, and black box theatre.

The cost of construction for rebuilding and expanding the school totals $47 million. In a partnership between the Dallas ISD and Booker T. Washington Advisory Board, the construction will be financed with $15 million from the 2002 Bond Program and $32 million to be raised by the Arts Magnet Building Campaign. To date, about $24.5 million has been raised.

Trustee Lew Blackburn praised the partnership formed to expand the school, calling the project “a win-win effort for our school district, our city, and future Booker T. Washington students.”

DISD student singers, dancers, musicians and mimes, who performed at the groundbreaking included the Booker T. Washington Jazz Trio, Cantabile Quartet, BTWHSPVA Mime Troupe, theatre students, and members of the 2006 Repertory Dance Company I.

With its dual emphasis on arts and academics, Booker T. Washington has produced a stellar list of alumni, among them Grammy winners Norah Jones and Erykah Badu, jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and members of the gospel group God’s Property.