DISD Board President Medrano "Not Sure What Can be Done" to Save Oak Cliff Church

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Early this morning, a Friend of Unfair Park forwarded along an update from the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League: "A Glimmer of Hope for Oak Cliff Christian Church." That, of course, is a reference to the 1905 building recently acquired by the Dallas Independent School District for the Adamson High School expansion. One week ago today, the district got a demolition permit for the structure, which means its demise is, for the most part, imminent.

But today the OOCCL posted a brief note -- "DISD Board President Adam Medrano is seeking input regarding this matter from other school board members" -- to which it now clings in the hopes that the district will hold off on razing the Charles Bulger-designed church, more or less the twin sibling of the McKinney Avenue Baptist Church demolished in January 2008. Medrano, when reached by Unfair Park moments ago, does not sound as optimistic.

"I do feel and understand the concerns of the preservationist," he says. "But when I signed up for the board, I signed up to make the best decisions for the children, and that's what I've done every time. I am not sure what can be done at this point."

He says he's spoken with a few board members ("not all of them"), but the one who carries the most clout, as far as Medrano is concerned, is Jerome Garza, who reps that district. And Garza, who could not be reached by Unfair Park today, has told his colleagues that new facilities are needed for Adamson, more so than a vacant church. "As far as I recall in our meeting two months ago [when the board voted to acquire the property], Jerome talked to us about the community and what they wanted," Medrano says. "And we usually go with the trustee in that district."

Medrano says he's received a number of concerned calls from preservationists since news first broke about the district's plans to raze the church. But frankly, Medrano says, he's not sure what other options the district has. It has already purchased the property -- which will be used for tennis courts or athletic fields, he's not sure which -- and, as far as neighborhood resident go, they'd rather have a new Adamson than an old church.

"I don't know even know what shape the building's in," Medrano says. "I've gotten reports that it's in terrible condtion. I've never seen it. I was going to take a look at it today, I've gotten so many calls about it. ... But when I signed on to be on the school board, what did I sign on for? The children. I've heard from the neighborhood that parents and students want a new facility, and they deserve it."

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