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Relocating to Dallas with Kids - Heath? Flower Mound? Lakewood?
My husband works with AT&T and we'll be moving to dallas as soon as we get our act together. We currently live in Ellicott City, MD. The office is downtown Dallas (and close to the metro stop my husband tells me). Because so many folks from Atlanta and San Antonio have moved to Dallas in the past couple of years with the company, we have numerous references for locations, but they vary so much. The majority have cited Flower Mound and McKinney. Several have told us to avoid Frisco (mostly the folks from Atlanta - who btw lived in Roswell/Alpharetta). But there is a small contingent who rave about Heath - "don't mess with the long commutes from the west and north" (and those folks are from northern CA and NJ). ALL of these folks don't seem to think anything about going to work at 6am (no traffic) and leaving the office at 7p to avoid the traffic. My husband hasn't found anyone who lives IN Dallas (which would be my preference if only for the commute - longer day for him, longer day for me and the kiddos).
Question: Heath? anyone? anyone? Sunnyvale seems closer, and obviously Lakewood is closer still. What's in Rowlett (would the DART in Garland be an option to getting downtown)?
Hubby and I are still debating what we 'need' - 4bdrm/2+ba, 3000sf, 15,000 sf flat lot, good elementary school (our eldest is in 1st and I'll deal with the MS and HS when the time comes). Price is of some contention (moving from MD). Cheaper house = more choices (travel, fun) More expensive house = a Budget We'll be coming out in January for a look, but saying "well, we've narrowed it down to Flower Mound, McKinney, and Heath" makes for an interesting day of driving around (and sitting in traffic I suppose).
What is your target housing budget? A home that size in Lakewood (parts of 75214, 75223, and 75206 are zoned to the exemplary rated elementary schools Lakewood & Stonewall Jackson) is going to cost about $500-600k if you're ok with a remodeled ranch style home from the 1950's....$750k+ if you're looking for new/newer construction.
If you can afford to live in the city, I don't know why you wouldn't. Commute time to AT&T HQ is 10-15 minutes flat from Lakewood and doesn't involve any stressful highway driving as side streets will easily get you there. The Lakewood area itself looks quite suburban- large lots, creeks and parks, the beautiful White Rock Lake. In the "core" area of Lakewood (bound by the lake, Gaston, Abrams, and Mockingbird) there are exactly 0 stop lights or major streets. Kids can safely play and explore the neighborhood on bikes and by foot, as Lakewood kids have been doing for many generations. Wonderul locally-owned restaurants and shops line Lakewood Village and the other entertainment areas along Greenville Ave and Skillman Street. It's a family-friendly, Norman Rockwell-esque neighborhood just minutes away from downtown and the arts district.
Heath and Flower Mound are nice, too, but realize with either, your hubby is signing up for a MAJOR, stresful commute. Approx 45-75 minutes each way. I-35 (from Flower Mound) is notorious for near-daily wrecks and back-ups.
I know lots of families/ singles who work for At&T and live in Dallas (Lakewood and the Park Cities are popular with families, Uptown & M Streets for singles). I'm sure most of your friends who picked the suburbs were either used to a hellacious drive or were too scared to consider living in the "big, bad city". Or they wanted brand new homes on small budgets- land value is $$$ in Dallas so you have to go out 20-30 miles to get a brand new 4,000sf home for $300k.
Lakewood is literally just a few miles from downtown. It's one of the nicest places to live in Dallas. There would be no freeway driving at all. However, if you're looking for a house and lot that big, it's not going to be for you unless you're ready to fork over millions. The elementary schools in east Dallas seem to be consistently great. Once you get to middle and high school they tend to fall short of expectations.
Sunnyvale is really nice and has amazing schools, but it's expensive, too. You will be eating and shopping in Mesquite and Garland also since there is very little in Sunnyvale proper. Rowlett is a very nice community. You're on the lake, and the schools are split between Garland ISD and Rockwall ISD, both good districts. The DART station in Garland goes directly to downtown, and if I'm not mistaken they are going to eventually expand into Rowlett. Traffic gets pretty thick though on I-30 as you get closer to the lake.
Forney is a little farther east, but also worth checking out. Homes are very affordable for their size. There's also much less traffic on Highway 80. Personally, I'll always rep Mesquite even though it gets a lot of negative press around these boards. Houses are cheap, you're 10-20 minutes from downtown, and the school district doesn't get nearly enough credit. There are only something like three schools that aren't at least recognized in the entire district, and those tend to be more on the west side in the Balch Springs area. Land is cheap there, and in the more undeveloped southeastern parts of town, there are plenty of options for a big home on a big lot.
Actually the situation in middle and high school in East Dallas is that the high-achieving affluent kids from Lakewood and Stonewall are then joined by kids from other schools which don't have the parental involvement and money of those schools (for the most part - Lipscomb and Lee Elementaries are starting to get more of the high-achieving affluent types). This tends to dilute the scores of the whole school - but the core groups from Stonewall and Lakewood are still getting an excellent education in upper-level classes. The top kids from Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School are on par or better than most private and suburban schools. Based on AP test participation Woodrow is one of the top high schools in the nation. And it won the ACT College Readiness Award last year (only the top 5% of schools qualify). J. L. Long's science team always places high in state competition as does the math team. One year Long's math team beat the most prestigious private school in Dallas, St. Mark's.
So it's a little hard to explain - it's really strange how a lot of people would rather drive two or three hours a day rather than take a little time to investigate. I think the best thing would be for you to talk to some parents and I'm happy to help you with that if you DM me -- also search on here for the above-mentioned schools and Lakewood/East Dallas/M-Streets 75214, 75206 and 75223. The Woodrow cluster has been designated the IB cluster by DISD and Woodrow should earn its designation as a full IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme early next spring. Texas has mandated that anyone with the diploma has earned 24 hours of college credit. TIBS - SB 111 Legislative Summary AP and Dual-Credit courses will still be offered at Woodrow. The middle school, J.L. Long is expected to offer the IB MYP (Middle Years Programme) in the next two to three years with some of the elementary schools following with PYP (Primary Years Programme).
Re: IB at Woodrow - we recently held an open house and almost the entire auditorium floor was filled with eighth graders and their parents.
Sorry it's blurry.
I looked at the sign-in sheets and I would estimate 80-90% were from private schools.
Pre-IB is already being taught in ninth grade and the faculty has been undergoing training for the last two summers.
Last edited by Lakewooder; 12-08-2010 at 03:34 PM..
You will be missing out on really enjoying Dallas if you don't look in Lakewood. It is more expensive there than the far-flung suburbs. But you certainly get what you pay for. The schools are great, it is full of large trees, parks, involved neighbors, historic homes, good local restaurants, White Rock Lake and its close to downtown.
Crossing IH-635 is a nightmare that adds significant time to your commute. My general recommendation is if you work south of 635, live south of it. This will make your life much more enjoyable.
Dallas is primarily a suburban city full of single family homes. It is not like Baltimore and never has been.
Another thing about Lakewood and East Dallas - you really have to think of it as a small town - not the big city. Even though it's 5-10 minutes from downtown, it is it's own little world. And sometimes it's a very small world! In a small town you have a little bit of everything - houses, people, ages, income (we do have a high percentage of old money that is lacking in the suburbs) and as Turtle Creek said, we have our own little downtown with the 1930s Lakewood Theater being a centerpiece:
Downtown to McKinney, Flower Mound, or Heath? You'd have to be stark raving nuts to sign up for any of those commutes. Plus, you'd be far removed from the DART system.
The DART works great for commuting to/from work. If you want suburban life without having to drive 60+ minutes every day, get a house close to the north endpoints for the Red, Green, or Blue Line. 5 minutes of driving to the Park and Ride, 45 minutes of kicking back and reading the morning paper or whatever. Low stress, low hassle.
If you want to live closer in, consider the Lake Highlands area of Dallas. Cheaper homes than Lakewood, Richardson ISD schools, and a DART station.
(we do have a high percentage of old money that is lacking in the suburbs)
Why would someone from out of town give a rat's rear end about whether or not their potential neighbors' parents and grandparents were rich??? Does that make those people somehow better or superior in some way? It sure seems as if you hold that belief, given the number of times you bring it up.
If you can afford to live in Lakewood -- you should. Your quality of life will be significantly higher due to proximity to your husband's office, the lake, restaurants and quality schools. For some reason, people relocating here from out of state avoid Dallas as if it were this dense urban megalopolis like Philadelphia or Washington DC. It is nowhere close. For example, the city of Dallas has about 3,000 people per square mile -- Philadelphia has 11,000.
The people who have lived here for years will tell you to move to Dallas proper, while the transplants will avoid it out of ignorance of the neighborhoods. Get to know the distinct Dallas neighborhoods -- which used to be small towns themselves -- and you'll find Dallas a great place to raise a family.
Living in Flower Mound and commuting to Dallas would only be slightly closer than living in suburban Baltimore and commuting to Dallas.
You might try this neighborhood - city of Dallas (Far North Dallas) and Richardson school district. HNHA Website
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