Yesterday, Austin ISD, Eastside Early College High School celebrated the grand opening of the new modernized campus, built as part of the 2017 Bond Program. Families, teachers, staff and community members joined AISD and Eastside ECHS leadership in an evening focused on academic excellence and filled with spirit.
The event featured remarks from Eastside ECHS Principal Andrew Bailey, Superintendent Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde, Board of Trustees President Geronimo Rodriguez, District 1 Trustee LaTisha Anderson, and L.C. Anderson Alumni Representative L.M. Rivers. Following the formal ceremony, guests were invited to enjoy refreshments, visit community partners and engage in family-friendly activities on the practice field.
The new Eastside ECHS at the Original L.C. Anderson High School is designed to honor the past, excel in the present and provide pathways to the future through a strong vision of academic excellence, multiculturalism and community connectivity. The Original L.C. Anderson High School had an 82-year history of serving the African American community in East Austin until it was ordered to be closed in 1971 by a federal court as part of desegregation. With its closing, this community hub was fractured and the campus sat vacant for decades. The ongoing desire of the L.C. Anderson alumni was for their campus to return to being a school and community focal point that elevates East Austin. Significant elements of the original building were reconstructed during the modernization, including the 1950’s style of the original front of the school, band hall, choir room, cafeteria and original classroom wing, which now serve a variety of functions.
“The new Eastside combines the rich history of L.C. Anderson with the bright future of the current generation of students,” said Eastside ECHS Principal Andrew Bailey. “Almost every wall on this campus represents a part of East Austin’s history. As we honor the past, we also have our eyes turned toward the future, and all the incredible things our students will achieve in this modernized space. I want to thank the Campus Architectural Team, L.C. Anderson Alumni, and our community partners for making this school a reality.”
The L.C. Anderson alumni, Austin ISD and project architect Perkins&Will worked closely with the Carver Museum and Austin History Center to capture and visualize the school’s history through graphics displayed inside the campus. At its core, the school’s story is one of inclusion and equity.
The campus also features state-of-the-art technology and flexible learning spaces as well as a large multi-use outdoor courtyard. An outdoor “wellness walk” provides a physical connection to Austin Community College to support early college programs. With multiple buildings for a collegiate-style experience, the school emphasizes a focus on preparing students for college and careers.
“This celebration is a monumental event for the Eastside community and all of us at AISD,” said Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde. “I have visited the school several times since it opened in Fall 2021, and each time, I am amazed at the dedication and collaboration that made this building come to life. I want to thank Principal Bailey for his leadership as students transition into this new campus.”
Eastside ECHS moved from their former facility, at the former Johnston campus to the new school at 900 Thompson Street. The modernized facility was designed by Perkins&Wills and was constructed by Cadence McShane Construction. Currently, the facility is expected to receive LEED Silver certification and was designed to increase daylight while reducing heat gain and energy use, and provide the campus with sensory gardens and native plants. The success of this project was made possible by contributions from women- and minority-owned contractors.
“Changing our world means providing the next generation with the knowledge and skills to thrive in college, career, and life to build their futures,” said AISD Board President Geronimo Rodriguez. “Through the 2017 Bond Program, we were able to do just that with this school. Using input from the community, we were able to design a campus that immerses our students in diversity and culture while simultaneously encouraging social and career readiness so that they can take on tomorrow’s issues today. I want to thank my colleagues on the Board, as well as the Community Bond Oversight Community and the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee, for their efforts to achieve the highest quality education for all students.”