Moving time is looming again for students and staff at The Cambridge School of Dallas.
The small Christian college preparatory school has called four different buildings home since it’s 2001 founding. School officials hope that this move will be their last.
“A permanent campus will enable us to enhance every aspect of our school,” head of school B. Paul Wolfe said. “This is crucial as we continue to model the pursuit of excellence toward noble ends, toward truth and goodness and beauty in all that we do.”
Cambridge rents space from the Village Church on Walnut Hill. For the past seven years, officials have been searching for a permanent home, vetting almost 50 properties without success. Last year, one of the board members drove by Walnut Hill Lutheran Church on his way home and noticed a “for sale” sign. Cambridge rented space there in its early days, and even tried to purchase it a couple of years ago. This time, the school was successful.
“In Dallas, to find something that is big enough, and that you can afford, and that can be zoned for a school is a trifecta that is nearly impossible,” said Emily Eber, director of communications and community development. “The school had a great experience there and maintained a good relationship with the neighborhood. It ended up being the right place at the right time.”
As part of the purchase agreement, Cambridge is leasing the building back to Walnut Hill Lutheran for nine months while the church’s congregation finds a home that better fits its needs. Cambridge also agreed to keep a large swath of trees that shade the central courtyard area.
Once the site is vacated, Cambridge plans to keep the existing chapel, but tear down four other buildings that have deteriorated beyond repair. In their place will be one building dedicated to classrooms, administrative offices, and a gym facility with space for athletic offices and other amenities. The additional space will provide the school with more room to grow.
Last year, Cambridge had a total enrollment of 103 students in grades 6-12. They came from more than 30 different zip codes, with the largest percentage coming from the Preston Hollow and Park Cities areas. This fall, it will add fifth-grade classes.
“Our goal is to basically double to a 210 student body,” Eber said. “We would never want to be large, but this piece of land has the capacity for us to grow with a good long-term plan.”
While no timeline has been set, school officials estimate that it will be at least two or three years before they can move. They are currently in the process of hiring an architect to develop the specific plans. After that, they plan to conduct a capital campaign to fund construction.
“If Cambridge is going to continue to be a presence in the Dallas community, we needed to solidify it. We needed to instill a sense of confidence and say, ‘We are going to be here’, ” Eber said. “This school has been alive for 16 years because our people believe we are doing something distinct. I’m excited to see where the architectural process will take us.”