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Plan Needs Safety First

The Dallas School District needs a plan to address issues facing the grandstands at Gallaspy Stadium — and to address the numerous issues facing all of the district’s facilities.

There’s no question the home bleachers, originally built in the 1960s, brings a sense of pride and character to the high school. But things have changed since they were built. Codes have been updated. What was OK then, simply doesn’t cut it now. Not acting quickly and decisively could lead to difficult consequences.

Woodburn knows this all too well, as its grandstands were closed during the entire 2015 football season to bring stairs, aisles and the entrance to the crow’s nest up to code — similar issues Dallas’ grandstands face.

An inspection by a state fire marshal forced the issue for Woodburn.

Bringing these aspects up to current codes would take time and money, but it is well spent if it prevents an injury or worse.

The bleachers are part of a much larger issue. The district has $45 million of work needed to be done.

It has $17 million from a voter-approved bond to address them. We are glad to hear the Citizen’s Oversight Committee is working on a plan to tackle these issues, but a revised plan, one that takes into account these pressing issues, needs to be completed quickly.

Once that plan is in place, communication is key. School officials have differing opinions on things like the condition of athletic facilities or how big of a risk a facility is in of getting red-tagged.

This lack of communication leads to confusion. Officials are frustrated because concerns aren’t being brought to them. Others are likewise frustrated that their concerns seemingly aren’t being addressed.

The result? A fractured school district instead of a united one.

Clearly, the district has its hands full. Choosing what projects to prioritize over others is always difficult.

Inaction is the one course the district cannot take.

That can lead to inefficiency, lack of unity and potentially risky environments.

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