Take a look at ACC Highland's ongoing renovations for the district's culinary, arts and manufacturing programs

ACC Highland is located within the former Highland Mall in Central Austin. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
ACC Highland is located within the former Highland Mall in Central Austin. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

ACC Highland is located within the former Highland Mall in Central Austin. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

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The new culinary facility will be 28,000 square feet and will feature a student-run restaurant. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Chef and Culinary Arts Department Chair Stephanie Herrington said the new ACC facility will be "top notch." (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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ACC Highland’s advanced manufacturing incubator, pictured here under construction, could also open in the spring. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes stands outside ACC Highland. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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ACC Highland Phase 2 includes an outdoor courtyard. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Offering new facilities for culinary arts, manufacturing, health sciences and digital media, Austin Community College students in select programs could be learning at Phase 2 of the renovated ACC Highland campus beginning this spring.

During an Oct. 14 tour of ACC Highland Phase 2—the $150 million, 400,000-square-foot renovation project that is transforming the former Highland Mall into innovative learning spaces—ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes said the campus brings new entrepreneur opportunities to the district.

“The programs you see going on here are where the jobs are today, and we’re providing pathways and opportunities to students,” he said.

Phase 2 is highlighted by a new space for the community college district’s culinary arts program. Chef and Culinary Arts Department Chair Stephanie Herrington said that compared to the district’s current 6,800-square-foot space, the new facility will be 28,000 square feet featuring a student-run restaurant that will be open to the public, a skills kitchen, a demo room and new equipment.

“This facility is going to be top notch,” she said. “I’ve seen these on paper over the past few years and now, seeing it is just ... wow. That’s all I can say.”

With 350 culinary students, the new space will allow the program to be expanded in the future, Herrington said.

Culinary students could move into the new space this spring, Rhodes said, with the restaurant opening in either the summer or fall of 2021, depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic.

ACC Highland’s advanced manufacturing incubator could also open in the spring. Next summer, arts, hospitality and management programs could be added as construction wraps. The final aspect of the redevelopment will be the health sciences wing, which could open in the fall.

Rhodes said private development of apartments and retail is expected to continue around the Highland campus over the next three to five years.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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