Austin ISD will break ground Saturday, Jan. 19 at 9:30 a.m. on a new $80 million campus for Eastside Memorial Early College High School and International High School at the site of the Original L.C. Anderson campus at 900 Thompson Street in East Austin.
There will be an outdoor and indoor program, which will include speakers from all three schools and a panel discussion on promise, pain, pride, perseverance and posterity that focuses on the unity of the three school communities.
The relocation of Eastside Memorial Early College High School and International High School to the Original L.C. Anderson site is part of a $1.05 billion bond program approved by voters in 2017, of which $80 million is dedicated to modernize this facility. In total, the bond program provides $146.5 million for the Eastside Memorial family of schools, which is a $43,084 investment per student. That is the highest per student investment among the district's family of schools. The modernized campus is expected to open in the summer of 2021.
Eastside Memorial ECHS has been serving East Austin students since 2008. In 2018, Eastside Memorial ECHS launched the Innovation Academy, to engage students in interdisciplinary, problem-based learning that cultivates innovative thinking and empowers leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
International High School was founded in 2003 and shares a campus with Eastside Memorial ECHS. International welcomes the world's students to Austin and prepares students ages 14-16 for success in the American school system. Experienced teachers speak both English and an additional language to help students transition to another high school to complete their education.
Austin ISD leadership believes relocating Eastside Memorial ECHS and International High School and to a new, improved campus at the Original L.C. Anderson site will once again put a high school at the heart of Austin's East Side and continue the legacy of Anderson.
"We invite all three school communities to join us at this site on which we will witness where legacy meets the future," says Miguel Garcia, principal of Eastside Memorial ECHS. "We are excited for our bright students to build on what it means to be the 'Pride of the Eastside,' a concept that began with Original L.C. Anderson students."
As Austin's first high school for African American children, the Original L.C. Anderson High School served as an anchor of the East Side community for more than 80 years. With a tradition of excellence in academics, fine arts, college and career preparation, and athletics, L.C. Anderson thrived as the premier school on Austin's East Side until it was closed to comply with court rulings on desegregation in 1971. Austin ISD has a vision for the original L.C. Anderson campus that will continue its legacy of providing excellence in education for Austin's East Side.
"Our greatest desire is that in building a new school at the original site of L. C. Anderson High in East Austin will help right the wrong done so long ago when the school closed," says Barbara Spears-Corbett, an Original L. C. Anderson Alumna from the Class of 1970. "We hope that future Austin students will remember the legacy of L. C. Anderson and what we achieved in spite of the obstacles we had to overcome."
The community is invited and encouraged to attend, particularly the current students and alumni of Eastside Memorial ECHS, International High School and L.C. Anderson High School.
"This groundbreaking will give us an opportunity to bring all three schools together and think about the history of this site and Austin," points out Leticia Vega, director of International High School. "Our students today face their own barriers to achieving their education. I hope L.C. Anderson's example can show what students can accomplish with perseverance and pride."
On Nov. 7, 2017, Austin voters approved the $1.05 billion bond proposal to create 21st-century learning spaces for all students. The Eastside Memorial and International High School facility at the Original L.C. Anderson Campus is one of 17 new or modernized campuses funded by the bond program.