Pease Elementary School is a 35,704 square foot school facility constructed in 1953 situated on a 2.17 acre site located downtown just blocks away from the Texas State Capitol bordered by West Avenue, West 12th Street, Rio Grande Street and West 11th Street.
The Pease site is very important to the history of Austin ISD, the city of Austin, and the state of Texas:
- 1902: The school is renamed Pease Elementary after the 4th governor of Texas, Elisha Pease.
- 1976: Pease celebrates 100 years and is rededicated. The original school bell is returned after being at AISD headquarters since 1949.
- 2013: Pease becomes a registered Texas Historic Landmark
Pease closed after the 2019-2020 school year. The Pease facility will be repurposed to support districtwide educational purposes. This plan for the site will be designed in collaboration with the Austin community to preserve the history of AISD and our school communities within a historically significant building. This scenario preserves the Pease site, with limited need for demolition or new construction.
On March 23, 2023, the Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to direct the Interim Superintendent to identify a partner to operate a high quality affordable early childhood education center. Click here to review the agenda item and a copy of the resolution.
The District issued a public request for proposal in April 2023 and will be evaluating submissions over the next few months.
Pease is in a unique situation because according to the state of Texas, the campus must serve an educational purpose. To satisfy the requirement that the site fulfills an educational purpose, it must meet at least one or more of the criteria below:
- The new use is interactive, in whole or in part, with teachers and students.
- The new use is already offered in other District facilities.
- The new use is deemed to be a “permanent” use versus an “ad hoc” use.
- The new use is a programmatic use supported by District educational policies.
- The new use is educational in nature.
Phase 1: Equity and Community Engagement
From January 2022 – March 2022, the district hosted a series of community meetings and solicited input from the community members and stakeholders about their needs and how the site could best respond to those needs while satisfying the above mentioned requirements. The top priorities were identified:
- Honor the school’s history and legacy
- Reopen the site as an all-transfer elementary school
- Leverage the site to expand programs at nearby schools
- Daycare and early childhood education programs
- Support early college high school programs and STEM
Phase 2 and 3: Real Estate, Financial and Economic Analysis
The district assembled an internal committee consisting of representatives from academics, school leadership, finance, operations and construction management to assess the feasibility of the potential uses identified by the community. The following were the committee’s key findings:
- Address current deficiencies prior to any future reuse including fire and life safety, mechanical, electric, plumbing and the identified presence of asbestos and lead based paint
- Current need is $1.8 million; ten-year need is $4 million
- District enrollment does not support opening another school and the annual operating budget for an elementary school at Pease is not sustainable
- Does not meet current educational specifications, including security, site circulation for bus and parent drop-off, and classroom size and configuration
- Modernization would require significant renovation and would reduce capacity
The district then created a high-level development strategy to ensure that the repurposed site continues to benefit the community, while helping the District to advance its academic, staff recruitment and retention needs.
Phase 4: Presentation of Findings and Recommended Actions
The findings from this plan were presented to the community through a series of community meetings held in September 2022 to solicit feedback and provide further direction for the repurposing of the site. The district heard the following:
- Overwhelming support for early childhood education
- Honors the legacy of the school
- Prepare students for Kindergarten
- Helps women to return to work / maintain steady employment
- Critical amenity for workers due to real shortage in Austin
- Concerns about code requirements / building condition
- Want to see gymnasium, outdoor space and playground more accessible to the public
- Interest to incorporate the arts if building can be multi-use
- 1106 Rio Grande St.,
Austin, TX 78701
- Property ID: 196675
- Lot Size: 2.17 acres
- Building Size: 35,704 SF
- Year Built: 1953
- Parking: 58 stalls
- Zoning: UNZ