Photography by Danny Fulgencio

Dallas ISD plans to build an addition to Walnut Hill Elementary to repurpose the school into a career institute offering specialized training in aviation, solar technology and other trades, according to a zoning change application filed with the City of Dallas.

The addition is part of ongoing efforts to rebuild the elementary school at Midway Road and Killion Drive after it was damaged in a tornado in October 2019. Walnut Hill and nearby Carey Middle School were declared total losses. Instead of building two new schools, the district decided to combine the two into a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade campus on the former Carey Middle School site.

The district plans to restore salvageable portions of Walnut Hill and build an addition to create a high school campus called the Walnut Hill Career Institute. The institute would provide half-day specialized instruction in eight fields: aviation, construction and carpentry, electrical and solar technology, interior design, HVAC and refrigeration, plumbing and pipefitting, advanced mechatronics manufacturing and cybersecurity.

Students would arrive on campus for a morning or afternoon session via a bus from their home high school. Walnut Hill Career Institute would not cover core curriculum, which would be taught at students’ home high schools. Additionally, fine arts, athletics and extracurricular activities would not be offered.

North Dallas High School, Thomas Jefferson, W.T. White, Emmett J. Conrad and Hillcrest would feed into the campus. It could accommodate 400 students in each session for a total enrollment of 800 students.

Once completed, Walnut Hill would be one of three institutes the district is launching.

The zoning request for a planned development will be reviewed Jan. 12, 2021.

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