Richardson City Council approves plan for JJ Pearce High expansion

School 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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This map shows what the revamped layout of JJ Pearce High School's campus will look like. (Courtesy city of Richardson)
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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)
A planned expansion at JJ Pearce High School got approval from Richardson City Council during its May 24 meeting.

The amendment to the school's planned development concept plan was requested by Richardson ISD to accommodate expansion of the high school building, a revamp of the parking lot, the addition of a soccer field and the relocation of a softball field. The item was approved unanimously by council, though Council Member Ken Hutchenrider was absent from the meeting.

Council did not include a condition concerning lights at the softball field in its approval. The City Plan Commission made a condition of its approval of the item in April that the field's lights "shall not operate past 10 p.m. except for inclement weather delays," which would allow the lights to operate until 10:30 p.m.

RISD Assistant Superintendent Sandra Hayes, who represented the item on behalf of the district, explained the field's lighting setup is designed to bleed down onto the field of play and the bleachers, but not over the property line.

"We will certainly try to accommodate [turning off the lights] as quickly as possible," Hayes said. "But it's hard to guarantee a 10:30 [p.m.] stop. If the game gets delayed by weather or is delayed in starting ... those kind of things are out of our control. For the students that are playing, we'd like to be able to finish the game out if there is a delay."


Council Member Steve Mitchell said he was confident the district, the city and any neighbors of Pearce High would be able to "work together to come up with a solution" to any issues that arise from the relocated softball field.

"I'm really thrilled with the work that RISD is going to be doing on this campus," Mitchell said. "RISD has always sought to be a good neighbor. So I'm very confident that whatever they do there will be good."

The planned development concept plan was put in place in 2018, when Pearce High's zoning was amended for the construction of a multipurpose activity center among other items. The new campus improvements are to be paid for with funds from Richardson ISD's 2021 bond package, which was approved by city voters earlier this month.

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.

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 district] will net out actually eight more parking spaces as a result of this plan compared to what they had approved back in 2018," Richardson Director of Development Services Michael Spicer said during council's work session May 24.

The softball field and its subsequent lighting poles, will be relocated to the south side of the baseball field, adjacent to Melrose Drive.

The new soccer field, which will not having lighting, will be added in the southeast corner of the Pearce High campus, near the corner of Melrose Drive and Mimosa Drive.
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.