Project File: From petroleum to pupils

When Mobil merged with Exxon, Mobil's Petroleum Product R&D facility in Farmers Branch, North Dallas, Texas, became a candidate for sale. However, the 337,000-square-foot commercial-industrial facility had little resale appeal as a commercial property.

While Exxon was deciding the fate of the R&D facility, across town Parish Episcopal School officials were faced with a need for additional facilities to meet current and future growth. The existing campus could not sustain additional expansion, and it was determined a new campus site was needed.

The school realized the Mobil facility's potential. The challenge was converting a commercial-industrial facility into an inviting and functional school building, within a limited budget, and on fast-track design and construction schedules.

Due to the size and scope of the facility, the project's renovation had to be done in phases. The first phase converted 151,000 square feet on the first two floors of the structure for 300 students in grades 3 to 8. The second and third phases will include interior and exterior athletic facilities, and the renovation of an additional 188,000 square feet of interior space to accommodate future growth, including grades 9 to 12.

The facility's massive walls, operating systems and equipment required new solutions to efficiently convert it for educational use. Original design elements such as existing art objects, were retained as part of the interior modifications.

The facility was completed on schedule and within budget in August 2002. Hodges & Associates, PLLC (Dallas) is architect.

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