Historic tract sells to Acton school

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Historic tract sells to Acton schoolThe Acton Academy South will relocate its campus at 10821 W. Hwy. 71, Austin, to a 2.65-acre site at 402 Camp Craft Road, West Lake Hills, for the 2016-17 school year, Head of School Brian Holtz said. The school, which currently has 22 students, will open 18 additional spots for students at the new location this fall, he said.

The sale of the new property was closed Feb. 19, said listing agent Mike Keffales, a commercial adviser with brokerage company Retail Solutions. The tract includes a main house and two buildings that former owner Dave Freeman believes were constructed in the 1920s, Keffales said.

As the street name—Camp Craft Road—suggests, the property was used as a day camp in the 1930s and 1940s and may house some of the oldest structures in West Lake Hills, he said.

“Anybody who is anybody had kids here,” Holtz said, citing that Lucy Baines Johnson and Willie Nelson’s children may have attended the camp. “Toney Burger was the basketball coach out here. [The property has] such a historical significance.”

Developers of a memory-care facility and an office complex were interested in the property but would have removed most if not all of the structures, Keffales said. However, Acton intends to use the buildings for its school, he said.

Holtz said he plans to remodel the interior of the buildings to suit the functionality of his school, which uses a one-room schoolhouse approach. He said Acton serves as a Montessori-style school, yet it incorporates technology and collaboration in its learning environment.

The larger stone house—with about 4,000 square feet—will serve as the classroom, Holtz said. An 800-square-foot building will be used as an art studio, and a smaller structure will make up a “hacker space” where students will use coding and technology, or computer-aided design, to construct new things, he said.

The school currently includes first- through seventh-grade students but will add an eighth-grade class for the fall semester at the new site, Holtz said. Acton may eventually grow to 12 grades and add a building depending on future demand, he said.

“The [school]will be a combination of the old West Lake Hills area and what we believe modern education looks like going forward,” Holtz said.

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