Richardson ISD board approves JJ Pearce High construction plan

Building.
Richardson ISD is planning an expansion of JJ Pearce High School, as well as changes to its parking and sports fields. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)

Richardson ISD is planning an expansion of JJ Pearce High School, as well as changes to its parking and sports fields. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Richardson ISD is planning an expansion of JJ Pearce High School as well as changes to its parking and sports fields. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Richardson ISD board of trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of just over $6 million for the first phase of a planned expansion and renovation project at JJ Pearce High School during its June 7 meeting.

The first phase of the project will include the installation of new turf on the existing baseball field, construction of a new softball field and the addition of more parking spaces for the campus.

The improvements are to be paid for with funds from Richardson ISD's 2021 bond package, which was approved by voters on May 1.

"[I'm] grateful to the community for their support of our most recent bond [election and] to allow us to move forward with our huge renovation for JJ Pearce High School—a much needed construction project," Superintendent Jeannie Stone said.

Chief Executive Director of Operations James Watson told the board that the paving project is expected to be finished by August or September. The turfing and field construction are slated to be completed by January 2022 to allow baseball and softball season to begin, he said.


Watson said the district's budget for the entire Pearce High construction project, which will include three phases, is $103.76 million.

The second phase will consist of upgrades to existing systems and infrastructure as well as the construction of building additions to increase campus capacity. It is tentatively scheduled to go out for bid in July and August with a "rough" estimate of completion by August 2022, Watson said.

The third phase of the project will include renovating existing classrooms, reconfiguring existing spaces and additional upgrades to existing systems and infrastructure. That phase is tentatively scheduled to go out for bid in November and December. Watson said the final phase, and the entirety of the project, is expected to be completed in August 2024.

"I'm grateful to the JJ Pearce community," Board Member Kim Caston said. "They are the last high school to be renovated, but the community has supported the other three high schools. ... What I am most delighted [by] about this renovation at JJ Pearce is the fact that we are going to consolidate the student center—like we've done at Lake Highlands High School and Berkner [High]—into one area, where the kids are together, united to eat, to work [and] to play. That is incredibly important."

On May 24, Richardson City Council approved an amendment to the school's planned development concept plan ahead of the renovation work.

Documents presented to council showed the reconfigured parking lot will bring the campus to a total of 1,079 spaces by displacing the existing softball field located south of the school's natatorium. The softball field will be relocated to the south side of the baseball field, adjacent to Melrose Drive.

According to the documents shared with council, the planned expansions of the high school building include a two-story addition at the northwest corner of the existing building and a one-story addition on the southeast wing. The two-story addition will add more than 25,000 square feet to the building, while the one-story addition will be a little less than 9,000 square feet.
By William C. Wadsack
William C. Wadsack is the senior reporter for the Plano and Richardson editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana before joining Community Impact Newspaper in 2019.


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