The 2019 tornado didn’t strike Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy was impacted just the same.
Cary Middle School was a total loss and half of the Cary students were reassigned to Franklin. The community rallied around the middle school and was asking what could be done to support the existing and new students.
Through a series of conversations with the Dallas Education Foundation, the non-profit partner of Dallas ISD, and the school’s principal, a request for a library renovation was the answer.
Ultimately multiple partners throughout the city, including Gensler, a global design and architecture firm — who provided the design services; Whiting-Turner taking the lead on the construction needs, and Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas offering to provide new furniture.
“Our mission is to inspire community investment to accelerate student success. This is a perfect example of involving our community and inspiring our students,” said Mita Havlick, executive director of the Dallas Education Foundation. “This library embodies the commitment to our students, including the support of support of Dallas ISD’s Library Services and Maintenance and Facilities departments, along with our generous donor partners.”
“We are incredibly excited about the new library, and so grateful to the Dallas Education Foundation and all their partners for supporting our campus,” Principal Irma De La Guardia said. “The new library is exactly what our students needed after the tornadoes and a pandemic.”
A Library Opening Celebration was held on March 3 to showcase the new library. Dallas ISD Board President Ben Mackey, Mita Havlick, Principal De La Guardia, representatives from Gensler, Whiting-Turner, Altrusa International, and Dallas ISD Facilities were in attendance to make remarks. The Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy Falconettes performed a special dance to welcome guests and students provided tours of the revamped library.