Officials discuss options for use of old Buda elementary campus

Officials are considering future uses for Old Buda Elementary School. (Screen shot courtesy city of Buda)
Officials are considering future uses for Old Buda Elementary School. (Screen shot courtesy city of Buda)

Officials are considering future uses for Old Buda Elementary School. (Screen shot courtesy city of Buda)

The campus of Old Buda Elementary School, located at 300 San Marcos St., Buda, has been the subject of much discussion among local school and city officials who have ideas for its use for various purposes.

During the Jan. 19 Buda City Council meeting, Micah Grau, Buda’s deputy city manager, said the city has an opportunity to perhaps partner with Hays CISD with regard to usage of the campus.

Grau said Hays CISD plans to use the campus to host board meetings, and the facility is still being used by different school groups as well as for outside projects and events.

He added that the lower part of the campus is in a flood plain, which remains strategically significant as local officials discuss future usage plans.

“[Hays CISD] has hinted to us that some of their plans may be to demolish the lower [part of the] campus,” Grau said. “But, doing so is quite costly ... and it exceeded $1 million to deconstruct the lower [part of the] campus.”

In talks with his own staff, Grau said the common belief is that the campus may continue to be used as is, as long as no major modifications are made.

Other temporary options Buda city staff have discussed for the campus include utilizing the gym as an open space for recreational sports programming, using certain spaces for youth summer camps, using the parking spaces for nearby special events and, when warranted, temporary designation of the facility as an inclement weather shelter for events held at City Park.

Buda Mayor Lee Urbanovsky said it would be appropriate to see what happens with a proposed May bond from HCISD, which could carry with it a $1 million line item for the demolition of the lower part of the campus.

“I’m quite sure [HCISD] is not going to give us any real direction until the bond either passes or fails,” Urbanovsky said. “The flood plain and the old building are the first two hurdles. But, ultimately, it’s a pretty large site that could be elevated to do something else with it.”

Council agreed to wait and see what happens with the proposed HCISD bond that voters will decide on in May.

“Everything is on the table here,” Council Member Paul Daugereau said. “It’s a good piece of property.”

By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018. From there he became a dual-market editor for Community Impact's New Braunfels and San Marcos-Buda-Kyle editions. Brian is now a senior editor for the company's flagship papers, the Round Rock and Pflugerville-Hutto editions.