New Dowling to get dedication

Published 7:18 pm Monday, May 28, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


Port Arthur Independent School District is hosting a dedication for the new Dick Dowling Elementary School on Tuesday at its future site on 5924 Jade Ave.

Superintendent Mark Porterie is scheduled to speak as well as some of the contractors working on the project. The Dowling Stomp Team is slated to perform.

A reception by the school is set to follow afterward at the Lakeside-Palomar Community Center on 5700 Cambridge St.

Principal Amy Newcomb-Jordan explained how the current Dowling school is built on an “open concept” design, indicating the elimination of barriers like walls and doors that are found in more traditional buildings.

The new Dowling school will not be based on that open concept design.

“The No. 1 thing I’m excited about are the walls and doors,” Newcomb-Jordan said with a laugh.

One of the key features she said she was looking forward to in the new school would be a combination cafeteria and gymnasium.

“It’s called a performance area and it will be part of the larger community area,” Newcomb-Jordan said.

The new school will be composed of two wings — the primary wing and the intermediate wing.

The new Dowling will be able to hold about the same number of students as the current one.

“It will be built for 450,” Newcomb-Jordan said. “It will be the same amount of room as this one, but we’ll all be under one roof.”

Newcomb-Jordan was referring to the fact that the current Dowling school is housing many students in portable buildings, many of whom are from Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Elementary.

Adams students were divided between Booker T. Washington Elementary and Dowling after the school received significant water damage from Tropical Storm Harvey. Adams pre-K through second grade students went to Washington and third through fifth grade students went to Dowling.

“We have really worked as a team,” Newcomb-Jordan said. “You have to truly work as a team to make two schools work under one building, and we’ve had great teamwork.”

Repairs and renovations at Adams Elementary are scheduled to be complete next month.

Newcomb-Jordan expressed satisfaction about Dowling’s new location.

“The (current) location is hard to find,” Newcomb-Jordan said. “The new location on the old land that used to be (Elijah) Pease Elementary has easier access and is right off the highway.”

Currently, there is no set date for when the new Dick Dowling Elementary School will be completed and ready for occupation.

Likewise, there are no plans for what — if anything — the district will do with the old building after students, faculty and staff have moved into the new building.