Artistic front of Billy Earl Dade Middle School

Helping create opportunity for children in Dallas

Billy Earl Dade Middle School
Dallas Independent School District
Dallas, TX

Dallas Independent School District selected KAI in a Joint Venture partnership to design a 1,000-student middle school near Fair Park in South Dallas. The school was replacing a former elementary-turned-middle school named for a longtime, well-respected educator and community leader in the Dallas Community, Billy Earl Dade.

KAI was asked to design a facility that celebrated Billy Earl Dade’s legacy and demonstrated a cultural connection to the community. Our design was based on the African-American tradition of passing down stories and embracing community pride by quilting. The walls along the two-story main entry are lined with doors, evoking Dr. Dade’s mantra that “education opens the doors for opportunity.”

The $36.8 million building, strategically designed to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint, is 213,000 SF on three floors and supports 21st century learning by integrating eco-friendly building solutions and modern technologies. It features a 457-seat state-of-the-art auditorium and a two-story library that is equipped with hi-tech capabilities. Also included are upgraded athletic centers and angled classrooms to help improve academic interactions and traffic flow. The two-story Media Center overlooks Fair Park, and classrooms have a view of downtown Dallas. The indoor dining area can access an interior green courtyard allowing students to eat outside on nice weather days.


Architecture, Project Management, Sustainable Design, Construction Administration, CHPS Certification

“There’s always been this belief that buildings aren’t just buildings...but that they can actually inspire human beings to achieve great things.”

Eric Johnson
District 100 Texas State Representative

The Impact

Demonstrating a cultural connection to the community.

Dade Middle School is located in an underdeveloped and underrepresented part of Dallas. To honor and bolster the primarily Hispanic and African-American community, designers created an innovative façade with a storytelling element. They created an angled curtain wall pattern with glass colors based on the geometric composition of a quilt researched at the famous Gee’s Bend Collective, an African-American quilt guild known throughout the world. In the African-American culture, quilting has been used for centuries to pass down stories of triumph. Several of the Collective's quilts are on exhibit at the school, reinforcing design theory and the history and culture of the school.

Project Recognition

Engineering News Record 2014 National K-12 Best of the Best
Engineering News Record 2014 Texas & Louisiana K-12 Best of the Best
TEXO 2014 Distinguished Building Award Merit Award
LEED Silver Certified