Construction FAQ

Construction updates will be sent to our community on occasion throughout the summer. Visit this page at any time for the most recent news and updates.

For a timeline of how this project developed, please see this article published in the 2018 winter magazine.

Construction FAQ

What is the status of the parking lot construction?

North Parking Lot Expansion

  • Connecting the two parking lots on the north side of Merrell Road is a critical project as we prepare to become One Campus, One Community. The addition of more than 100 parking spaces will mean fewer cars parked on Merrell Road and increased safety for pedestrians and those driving in and around campus.
  • Although site demo and grading began in late June, final permitting is expected the week of July 16, so full engagement in this project can commence. At the current time (week of July 16), this project is behind by approximately 10 working days. Every effort will be made to recoup as many days as possible, but we are projecting completion to be early September rather than the initially projected August 17.
  • Although our community will have access to a portion of the north parking lot as school resumes, full access will not be available until at least after Labor Day. Plans are being developed to accommodate as many cars on campus as possible during that interim period. As soon as plans are finalized, we will communicate the necessary adjustments.
  • Click here to see what the lot will look like

Tell us about the new turf.

Turf Replacement

  • The demo and install of a new turf field in the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Stadium is complete. The AstroTurf RootZone 3DSF turf system is state of the art in safety, heat resistance, and durability...and looks fantastic!  The project began on June 6 and was completed on July 9. For more detailed information on the turf specifics, please click here

What is that circle in the middle of one of the Lower School floors?

After the entire foundation was poured in late August, it was easy to see that there was a circular area on the west side that was recessed several inches (see photo below). Several asked, What is that circle in the foundation? Why is it several inches lower than the rest of the foundation that was poured? 

The circle is in the center of the "neighborhood" for the Beginner and Pre-Kindergarten classrooms. The neighborhood concept came from our faculty team when we initially brainstormed our hopes and dreams for this new facility. We asked the team, "How can we leverage every square inch of the Lower School to support and facilitate learning and teaching?" One of the central ideas born from those early conversations (more than four years ago!) was the neighborhood concept, a concept that will live throughout the new Lower School.

The neighborhood concept lies at the heart of the design of the new Lower School - making the spaces between and around classrooms as much about learning and teaching as the classrooms themselves. Homerooms are the nucleus of a child's academic day, but the neighborhood brings a grade level together to afford consistency of curriculum and opportunities to take full advantage of the strengths of the entire teaching staff. When a family lives on a cul de sac, it is not necessary for every house to have a basketball hoop. The same is true in our neighborhoods. Here, students can connect and share resources as they learn and play in meaningful ways. 

Each neighborhood will have a different look and feel, based on the developmental needs and abilities of that age group. Where the Beginner and Pre-K students share a neighborhood that offers space for gross motor and active play, the first grade neighborhood will be a "hive" (literally) of reading and learning activities, and the fourth grade neighborhood will offer a greater level of sophistication for interactions and collaboration among our oldest Lower School students as they ready themselves to move on to Middle School.

A unique learning tree will anchor the early childhood neighborhood. The tree will provide not only quiet spaces for learning and conversation, but also active possibilities for young children to strengthen their gross motor skills as they play, climb, and explore. What makes this tree even more special is that is has been designed by our very own arts faculty member, Dane Larsen, in conjunction with Beginner and Pre-Kindergarten teachers, and will be constructed by Mr. Larsen with the help of a few of his AP art students later this school year. Truly, this is a project that brings our community together in a special way ... and a sign of things to come.

When will the new Lower School open for students and teachers?

The new Lower School will open in August of 2019.

Where will Lower School students play when the new building opens?

  • Two playgrounds, designed by Berliner, one for early childhood students and one for elementary students, will be installed spring of 2019. Located just west of the Frank Center and just east of the Swann Wellness Center, the playgrounds will offer varied opportunities for students to jump, spin, swing, climb, balance and imagine.  Berliner has created unique play landscapes that combine free play limited only by a child’s imagination with net climbing configurations that challenge a child’s motor skills and improve muscle development and balancing skills that promote connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain.
  • The South Lawn, a natural playground for our youngest students, will offer a tricycle track, small tunnels, stumpery, rock and butterfly gardens, and water and sand features to contribute to imaginative play and movement.
  • Renderings, showing the playground equipment and their location, will be available by mid-August.

How will carpool be impacted during construction?

We do not anticipate any major changes to carpool flow, drop off and pick up zones, and timing. A full update will be sent with back to school information in August.

Where will current Middle School students have outdoor play during construction?

The Middle School leadership team and the physical education department have identified four safe outdoor play zones, as well as space indoors, for students in grades 5 through 8. Supervised play zones will allow for running, informal field games, action in two gaga pits, basketball, kickball, tag, to name a few. More information on the safe outdoor play zones will be shared with students and parents at the beginning of school.

How do we know who the construction workers are on campus? Will they have open access to the other spaces?

All contractors are working with Campus Safety to pre-authorize each member of the construction team prior to stepping on campus. All workers are required to wear identification. The construction site is fully contained; all workers on the site will remain within the construction fence.

Who are our construction partners, like our architect and GC?

Architectural firm Overland Partners, Echelon Leadership project management, and Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors are working together with ESD to ensure the Lower School project avoids interrupting daily life at school for our students and teachers as much as possible, is safe and secure, does not exceed its budget, and is completed on time

What will happen to parking with additional workers on campus?

All contract laborers will be required to park off campus and ride a shuttle to campus. 

Additionally, ESD is adding parking north of Merrell Road for parents and guests this summer.

How can I learn more and ask any question I might have?

Definitely keep checking this page as we will make updates as available. Also, use the "ask a question" email link found at the top right of this page. Lastly, we will be hosting community meetings throughout the process to help ensure all questions are answered. Please RSVP using the form on this page.


What is the total project budget?

The project budget, all in, is $36.5 million with a reasonable built-in contingency.

Is the Lower School building fully funded?

Yes. The Episcopal School of Dallas’s community, true to form, has responded in a most generous way, providing full funding for this project before groundbreaking. Approximately $3 million in undesignated campaign funds helped wrap up the monies needed to begin construction. 

Who are the Lower School donors?

In total, 135 gifts have been made for the Lower School. We are grateful to all. Some of their stories are shared here.

Are funds still being accepted for Lower School?

As mentioned above, approximately $3 million in undesignated campaign funds helped wrap up the monies needed to begin construction. Opportunities remain to be a part of this historic project, including naming opportunities within the building and creating endowed funds to enhance and preserve the building.

What are the three parts of The Campaign for The Episcopal School of Dallas?

As with all well-run colleges, universities, and schools, comprehensive campaigns include funds for: 1.) capital projects (our new Lower School), 2.) adding to endowment (our goal is to add $30 million during this campaign for endowment), and 3.) to preserve and build the institution’s Annual Fund.

Please click here for more information about all three priorities.