Decrepit conditions will keep high school closed if DISD takes over

By Joshua Benton and Tawnell Hobbs
Staff Writers

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The Wilmer-Hutchins High Eagles may have flown for the last time.

Dallas school officials have decided that Wilmer-Hutchins High is too dilapidated to keep open – even just for the next year.

“We’ve concluded and notified trustees that we’re not going to use Wilmer-Hutchins High School,” Dallas spokesman Donald Claxton said.

That decision means every school in Wilmer-Hutchins will be closed if Dallas agrees to take the district’s students. Wilmer-Hutchins’ other schools, in various states of disrepair, had been marked for closure.

Instead, all Wilmer-Hutchins students would be bused to Dallas campuses: Carter, South Oak Cliff and A. Maceo Smith high schools, plus the lower schools in their feeder patterns.

The high school’s closure would affect University Interscholastic League events such as football. Wilmer-Hutchins athletes will be allowed to compete on Dallas teams, UIL athletic director Charles Breithaupt said.

Dallas school facilities officials inspected Wilmer-Hutchins High on Monday to see whether it could be salvaged, despite needs for a new roof and air-conditioning system.

“We just felt it would be impossible to get the building ready before Aug. 15,” the first day of school, Mr. Claxton said. “It’s not in any condition to educate kids, in our opinion.”

The schools’ closures depend on the Dallas school board’s willingness to take on Wilmer-Hutchins students.

Wilmer-Hutchins is in woeful financial shape, and its leaders say there isn’t enough money to operate on their own this fall.

Dallas trustees are expected to vote on the issue next week.