Austin ISD considers potential uses for Allan ES campus in 2013–14

The future of the Allan Elementary School campus was the focus of an Austin ISD board of trustees work session May 13.

At its Feb. 23 meeting, the board advised the administration not to reopen the Allan building as a school for 2013–14. Instead, the board is assessing a variety of options on how to use the campus, including leasing it, renovating it or leaving it empty for one year while the board seeks community input on potential uses.

In December, the board terminated the district's contract with IDEA Public Schools, which is operating an in-district charter at the school, and now the board must decide how to use the facility for the 2013–14 school year.

"If [a facility] is a school, most people want it to stay a school, and if it's not a school they want to generally see it still be part of [AISD's] school community and services," Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said.

During the AISD bond election May 11, voters did not approve Proposition 2, which included funding for overcrowding relief. In light of this, Carstarphen advised trustees to consider options that would alleviate overcrowding.

Trustee Gina Hinojosa asked whether keeping the campus open with elementary school programming would be possible, but Carstarphen noted that option would not be cost-effective, as nearly 400 of the 540 or so students currently enrolled at IDEA Allan Academy and College Prep are planning to follow IDEA to its new charter school, while 48 have said they plan to stay with AISD and return to their feeder schools.

Options

Each of the renovation possibilities being considered by the board would have cost implications.

"One of my chief concerns is going to be not doing anything that's going to take money out of the fund balance," trustee Robert Schneider said, adding he looks forward to the discussion about how use of the campus will tie in with the district's facility master plan.

AISD board President Vincent Torres suggested the district leave the site vacant during the next school year while it launches a community engagement process to determine what the public wants to see at the campus. By doing so, the district could reduce budgeted expenses by an estimated $3.5 million.

Focusing on attracting parents to the school with unique options, Trustee Lori Moya expressed interest in programs such as dual-language education. The district could convert the site into a districtwide K-8 or middle school with a dual-language focus, opening in school year 2015–16. Such use would have an estimated one-time cost of $6,457,500, including facilities costs, and funding would have to be identified for that option, according to AISD.

"Whatever it is we decide to do there, it has to be completely different from a traditional program. Otherwise I can't see how those families would choose to go there versus going back to their home schools," she said.

Other possibilities

The board is also considering renovating the site to house the new school for young men, which will be funded in part by the Moody Foundation. Doing so would eliminate the need to renovate the Alternative Learning Center for that program. It would cost $16.7 million to renovate the Allan campus, compared with an estimated $22 million for ALC. The board could also opt to use Allan to house ALC's programming.

A pre-K center would cost $1.4 million to launch, not including facilities costs, according to district estimates. The academic focus might include a dual-language program, and some of the site's space would be available for administrative offices.

Another option the board considered was opening a Career and Technical Education Center, which could serve as a hub for students from more than one vertical team, which is a high school and the schools that feed into it. Maintenance and operations costs are projected at $2.46 million for the first year, and the district would have to find funding.

Using the campus for systemwide testing and information services instead would result in an estimated cost avoidance of $119,000 in its first year of implementation, and an additional $619,000 per year thereafter.

To lease the school to an outside entity, the district estimated it would generate $240,000 in revenue for up to 30,000 square feet. Such a lease would leave the district with five weeks to prepare Allan for a different use in the 2014–15 school year. The board said it would decline any offer by IDEA to lease the Allan facility for the 2013–14 school year.



MOST RECENT

Photo of Austin Community College pharmacy students preparing vaccines
Austin Public Health ramps up COVID-19 booster shot offerings, prepares for pediatric vaccines

High-risk individuals who received Pfizer are Moderna doses six months ago or more are now eligible for boosters—as are most recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Oak   Lotus Yoga Studio opened in mid-August. (Courtesy Oak   Lotus Yoga Studio)
4 wellness businesses that are now open, coming soon or being renovated in Southwest Austin

A new yoga studio and a martial arts studio are among businesses opening and remodeling in the area.

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

The newly approved transportation masterplan for Dripping Springs will add several minor arterial roads around downtown. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs officials say proposed roads will not cut through properties

The conceptual transportation plan, approved Oct. 19, identifies locations for new roads that would connect congested roadways in the city.

In addition to the crossing signal, the corridor program office will add high-visibility crosswalks. (Courtesy Austin Corridor Program Office)
New pedestrian crossing signal coming to William Cannon Drive and McCarty Lane intersection

Construction work on the 2016 Mobility Bond project will largely occur Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey briefed City Council on Austin's spending of more than $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding on homelessness Oct. 21. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials share outlook of 3-year plan to house 3,000 homeless people in Austin

Although the path to build more than 1,000 new spaces for those without shelter will take time, officials believe the goals are achievable.

Photo off APD sign
Austin police cadet academy review notes positive strides but says instructors lack buy-in to 'reimagined' concept

Reforms at the Austin Police Department academy are mixed so far, while the department and outside evaluators agree on several potential improvements going forward.

The Turkey Trot is returning in person after a virtual year. (Courtesy ThunderCloud Subs)
12 events to fall for in Austin this October & November

From voting on Election Day to enjoying food and drinks, here is a roundup of area activities happening this fall.

Cumby Group is planning development for three adjacent multifamily projects on Manor Road in East Austin, including The Emma apartments. (Courtesy Cumby Group)
3 years in, Austin is falling behind on goals in affordable housing plan

From 2018-20, the city only reached 12% of its 10-year goal to build thousands of new homes and rental units.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

The Austin Transit Partnership is exploring above- and below-ground options for a transit center at the East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley intersection. (Courtesy Austin Transit Partnership)
Project Connect plans to explore above-, below-ground options for East Riverside/Pleasant Valley Transit Center

After hosting a community design workshop, the group overseeing Project Connect designs is moving forward with options for both an underground and above-ground station at the intersection.

A calculator created by the Rocky Mountain Institute looks at the environmental impact of TxDOT's proposed designs for I-35 in Central Austin, one of the most congested roadways in the country. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit's tool says TxDOT I-35 expansion proposals would have profound environmental consequences

The tool says that the proposal would create between 255 and 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year.