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Paul Quinn Demolition Signals Change

By Omar Garcia, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Crews began demolishing abandoned buildings at Paul Quinn College in Dallas today. KERA's Omar Garcia says it's symbolic of the future Paul Quinn hopes to build.

Dallas developer Trammell S. Crow is known for developing real estate, not destroying it. On Tuesday Crow climbed into a bulldozer and laid waste to a building at Paul Quinn College. A crowd of staff, alumni, students, and other supporters cheered him on.

Crow was at the historically black school in South Dallas to witness the demolition of a former faculty residence. It is the first of thirteen structures to be demolished in the next three months on the 146-acre campus. A $1 million donation from Crow made the demolition of the abandoned buildings possible. In their place the school hopes to create a jogging track, athletic fields, and a botanic garden.

College president Michael Sorrell believes the bulldozing marks the start of a transformation for the school.

Sorrell: "Today will be among the last days that you shall look upon this book and not judge it by an antiquated, torn cover. For today we take enormous steps forward in becoming one of America's great small colleges."

Sorrell's optimism follows some tough times for Paul Quinn. The school lost its accreditation last year because of financial and academic concerns. A federal court has reinstated the accreditation pending a legal hearing. Sorrell says the school has tripled its budget surplus since 2009 and Paul Quinn has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year.

Sorrell: "It's the sign that the institution is making progressive steps. You can't build until you tear down, so, we're going to celebrate each step along the way."

Trammel Crow tells students he has invested in Paul Quinn because they are important to building Dallas.

Crow: "You ask me why I'm involved with Paul Quinn. It's because the dollar will go here farther than almost anyplace I know of in Dallas, Texas to help build people, economy, and community."

Over two hundred students will be enrolled at the college this fall.