TEXARKANA — On March 3, 2022, a panel of special commissioners appointed by the County Court at Law of Bowie County will conduct a hearing to determine the value of the former Pine Street Junior High School campus. The hearing is the latest stage in a process initiated by Texarkana Independent School District to repurchase the property from Old School Lofts Joint Ventures managed by Dallas-based developer John Stone.
Local officials have expressed support of TISD’s efforts to reacquire the property due to the neglect of the current owner, the hazardous conditions created as a result, and the
school district’s plans to improve the property. Texarkana, Texas City Council Member, Betty Williams, Ward 3, stated, “As a long-time resident of Texarkana, I’ve shared how disappointed I am in the deterioration of the Pine Street campus under the current ownership, and I am confident that Texarkana ISD will utilize the reacquisition of the campus in a safe and beneficial manner supporting students and the community.”
The site at 1915 Pine Street has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair since it was acquired by Dallas-based developer John Stone in 2005. Years of neglect have inflicted significant damage on structures, creating an array of safety issues that limit prospects for future use of the buildings on the site.
“There are very large holes and substantial damage on all buildings internally and externally. Most of the damage is related to vandalism and deterioration from exposure to the weather,” explained Keith Lee, Texarkana, Texas Chief Building Official. “Due to the instability of the deteriorated and unsecured structures at the former Pine Street School, the property is not considered safe in its current condition.”
TISD will evaluate the options for the site, understanding that there are limitations due to its continued deterioration. TISD Board of Trustees President Fred Norton said, “Our goal is to use the property in
ways that will make it an asset to our students and community once again. Community members and parents have shared that they want the Pine Street property returned to TISD so that it can be used as a school site. We will explore all options with safety being our top priority, and with a focus on preserving any existing structures or building features
that feasibly can be saved.”
The Pine Street property served as Texas High School’s third campus, which was completed in 1930. The facility was designed by the architectural firm of Witt, Siebert and Haley and constructed by Oats Building and Construction Company. It was built for 750 students and through the years housed between 400 and 1.343 students. A series of additions to the campus were made in the 1940s for expansion. By September 1967, Texas High School was moved from Pine Street to Kennedy Lane. The former Texas High School building became the new Pine Street Junior High School. The last class for the property was held in 1996 and the building was officially retired by TISD in 2003.
From TISD Communications