Terrell campus might be ideal for academies

For weeks, Fort Worth school district trustees have wrangled over where to locate two new highly touted academies approved in a $490 million bond issue in 2013, while at the same time trying to figure out how to cut construction costs on projects that may run up to 40 percent higher than originally planned.

The funding crisis, which no doubt has been difficult for board members, may prove to be an exceptional opportunity, at least for the proposed Visual and Performing Arts Academy and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy, which account for a total of $73.3 million in the bond package.

At the same time, it might aid in the resurrection of the historic I. M. Terrell High School building, at one time the only black high school for students in Fort Worth and at least 17 surrounding cities.

Although several locations have been considered for the two new schools, district staff was asked to study the feasibility of Terrell, just east of downtown, as home to the arts academy or both.

Results of that study will be presented to the board during a special workshop Wednesday evening, and it appears a consensus is building for both schools at the Terrell site. The building now houses a small elementary school and the district’s computer operations center.

Because of its central location, historical relevance and architectural significance, the Terrell location could be an ideal location for the two schools.

Trustees must make sure the economics of such a move work and that the relocation of the building’s current occupants will not be excessive.