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Home room: District’s newest campuses to give local towns a piece of Denton ISD and a sense of community

Braswell High School Gymnasium

Voters in Denton ISD passed two bond packages within the past 10 years – in 2007 and 2013 – that are providing our rapidly growing school district with buildings and renovations to benefit students, teachers and staff members.


Our bond packages are formulated by a committee of community members and district staff who look at the needs of students and how they are impacted by the area's growing population. The committee doesn't just look at how new schools can offset population growth, however – improvements to current schools have been included in all modern Denton ISD bond packages.


Two of the key pieces of the 2013 bond package included the construction of Catherine Bell Elementary and Ray Braswell High school in the easternmost portion of the district. Bell Elementary is the district’s 23rd elementary school, while Braswell High is the district’s fourth comprehensive high school, and first outside of the Denton city limits.


Here’s a sneak peek at our newest campuses:


Bell Elementary – Expanding young horizons

Banners that denote the graduating class year of each grade level decorate the hallways of Bell Elementary. Tiny kindergarten students started their first day of formal education, timidly walking under banners that read “Class of 2029.”

 Mrs. Franke's Fourth Grade at Bell Elementary

“This school is beautiful,” David Oduguba, as he sat with his son, Lyetade, a second grader who was eating breakfast in the cafeteria the first day. “We had a wonderful experience at Cross Oaks (Elementary) last year and think this year will be even better.”


The building design mirrors that of Adkins and Cross Oaks elementary schools but features stone masonry and brick that is widely used throughout the neighborhood. The goal is to have the architecture of the building look and feel like its surroundings and from the reaction of parents and students walking the grounds during the first week of school, that mission was accomplished. 


Hallways, classrooms and the library are flooded with natural light throughout the day, giving the building an open feel. An expansive wireless network and collaborative work spaces allow teachers and students to have access to activities and lessons anywhere their imagination can take them.        


Braswell High – Building a legacy

Braswell High School welcomed its inaugural classes of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors on the first day, in all 1,212 were there to make history.


“It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of a brand new school and be here the first year it’s open,” said Celeste Kalmbach, freshman. “I think that is what a new school brings; it brings a lot of opportunities for everybody. Bringing the whole community together, we are like one big family and this school is going to be what the 380 Corridor, or as we now call it the Braswell Zone, is known for.”


The district wanted students and community members in the Braswell Zone to be involved in their own high school from day one. The Braswell Bengals took that mantra on literally.


Early in the building process, students in the area that were identified to attend the new campus took part in everything from the actual groundbreaking to deciding the mascot and the school colors.


Even junior level students in advanced engineering and architecture classes at the district’s LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex “shadowed’ contractors through the process of building the new innovative campus.    


The building is broken down into small communities or houses, and each contains its own collaborative learning areas, glass huddle rooms, writeable wall surfaces and digital displays. Ordinary spaces, even hallways, contain flexible learning spaces with direct access to “educational courtyards” which are designed with collaboration at their core.


“The positioning of the academic areas in the building really captures the use of natural light, and I already have plans of how to incorporate every physical inch of this classroom and the adjacent lab within my focus on biology, natural science and physics,” said Yatishe Milner, science department chair at Braswell. Braswell High Entrance


Braswell High’s Bill Carrico Athletic Complex, named for a longtime Denton ISD teacher, coach and administrator who was also an All-American at The University of North Texas, was built with multi-function and use in mind. Built for junior varsity football – with the potential to expand to a varsity-sized facility – as well as varsity baseball, softball, tennis, track and soccer stadiums, the complex houses multiple outbuildings providing individual locker room and dressing facilities for every sport.


The school will soon fill due to rapid growth and development in the area. Core facilities are designed to serve 2,700 students however additions to the academics, career and technology and athletics areas are planned and expected as the district continues to meet students’ needs.


“Braswell High School sets the new standard for collaborative learning and critical thinking,” said Dr. Jamie Wilson, superintendent of school. “Denton ISD students will be far-and-away much better prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce due to the hard work of our teachers and staff facilitated by this amazing campus.”