Full rebuild of Lake Highlands Junior High could be included in potential Richardson ISD bond

Lake Highlands Junior High was built in 1956 and has reached the end of its useful life, according to a facilities audit. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)
Lake Highlands Junior High was built in 1956 and has reached the end of its useful life, according to a facilities audit. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)

Lake Highlands Junior High was built in 1956 and has reached the end of its useful life, according to a facilities audit. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)

A full replacement of Lake Highlands Junior High and major renovations at three other schools could be included in a potential May 2021 bond.

Committees charged with determining needs at each campus, which also include Mohawk and Brentfield elementary schools and JJ Pearce High School, spoke with community members and district employees to form recommendations. Members of the committees recently reported preliminary findings to Sandra Hayes, assistant superintendent of district operations.

“This is just a first blush,” Hayes said. “There will be many more [revisions] to come before this process is finished.”

Almost 60% of schools and facilities in Richardson ISD are more than 50 years old and 25% were built over 25 years ago, according to the district.

The school in need of the most work is Lake Highlands Junior High School, according to the committee. A September 2019 facilities audit determined the 64-year-old school had reached the end of its useful life. Roughly $153 million worth of upgrades and renovations are needed before 2030, so the committee recommended a possible rebuild, Hayes said.


The campus is large enough to accommodate continued operation of the current school while new buildings are constructed, Hayes said.

The committee will also take into consideration the possibility of adding space for sixth grade, Hayes said. The district has been discussing moving sixth graders from elementary campuses to junior highs for several months, though the decision has not yet been finalized.

The committee does not yet have specifics on how a new Lake Highlands Junior High would look. Residents in the school’s attendance zone have been asked for feedback to help guide planning.

A recent demographer’s report and capacity study determined that Mohawk needs more space, Hayes said. The school requires six new classrooms, a larger gym, a new administrative space and cafeteria, and a relocated media center.

The committee overseeing potential changes at Brentfield recommended building additions to accommodate the area’s growing student population, Hayes said. One suggestion is to build a connector to join the two buildings. The addition would include an additional gym, a new cafeteria and two playgrounds.

JJ Pearce also needs more space, Hayes said. Proposals include increasing the size of classrooms and laboratories as well as adding a gym and new entries to the building.