Second school opens under 2017 Bond Program, brings 21st century learning spaces to South Austin students
Austin ISD today opened one of the first projects to be completed under the 2017 Bond Program, Menchaca Elementary School. AISD and Menchaca campus leadership, students, parents and the community came together for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the modernized school, which officially opened to students on Wednesday, January 8.
Menchaca Elementary School is one of the full modernizations included in the voter-approved 2017 bond. Menchaca received a new campus on its existing site that brings its capacity from 606 to 870 students to serve the growing South Austin community. The new state-of-the-art campus also includes improved site circulation in response to major, adjacent road expansions.
"Menchaca was our first project to break ground as part of the 2017 Bond Program, and it is so gratifying to stand here today to open this wonderful new school together," said Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz. "This school, along with all the other incredible projects included in the bond, will create learning spaces that meet the needs of current and future generations of learners and leaders."
A Campus Architectural Team made up of Principal Elizabeth Loyola, school staff, parents and community members provided guidance throughout the design process as the team of LPA Architects, Joeris General Contractors and AECOM brought the modernized school to life. Design began in March 2018, with construction beginning in August 2018. The ground-up design for Menchaca Elementary School illustrates how a commitment to community engagement, research and innovative learning environments can change the course of a campus.
"We are so proud to call this beautiful new campus home; it is a fantastic representation of what the community can expect from our district," said Principal Loyola. "Together with our students, staff and community, AISD has built a school that will provide Menchaca students with the opportunities, tools and 21st-century skills they need to be successful throughout their lives."
The rich history of Menchaca Elementary School began in the late 1800s. Named after Tejano Army Officer José Antonio Menchaca, it was originally built as a one-room schoolhouse. The new facility is the fifth version of Menchaca Elementary in this community. The modernized 98,600-square-foot campus includes a collection of three buildings with shaded outdoor collaboration spaces designed around several heritage Texas oak trees.
The buildings form two courtyards linked by a second-story bridge that houses an innovative library media center and makerspaces specifically designed for the school. More than 30 percent of the site is open, vegetated space, creating direct links between the outdoors and learning environments. The new school is an Austin Energy Green Building and the campus is designed to meet LEED certification, including a commitment to air quality and overall wellness for the students and faculty.