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San Antonio Independent School District Welcome New Additions
Current and former students, community members and staff of the San Antonio School District gathered in Douglas Academy’s historic auditorium on September 26 for a homecoming celebration and dedication ceremony commemorating the completion of a major construction and renovation project at the school.
“Douglas Academy has a rich history and tradition. Our children here inherit that history and have the potential to become whatever they want to be,” said District Superintendent Dr. Robert J. Duron said on stage, where the legend Lewis is. Armstrong, Billie Holiday and B.B. King performed once.
With $9.3 million from the San Antonio Independent School District’s 1997 bond program, school improvements include renovating classrooms, an auditorium and a gymnasium in the three-story schoolhouse built in 1915. The building, which formerly served as a commercial shop, was converted into a library.
New construction includes classrooms, a kitchen and a cafeteria at this San Antonio school. Two courtyards, a central tower with an elevator and a staircase connect the old to the new for accessibility.
With a total of 73,692 square-footage, the facility accommodates 450 students including Life Strides and Early Childhood programs.
The District’s Plant Services staff carefully renovated and reinstalled the original wood flooring and auditorium seating at this San Antonio school. The stage and walls were also repainted.
“Not only do we have new things we’re excited about, but we’re also celebrating the history of this school,” said Principal Melanie Herr-Zepeda.
Colors, tiles, and wall textures throughout the campus express the African-American and Mexican-American culture of this San Antonio school’s neighborhood. “This school is really rich in history. We’re honoring the neighborhood today and still honoring where this school came from,” Herr-Zepeda added.
Douglas Academy dates back to 1869 when it opened in what is now downtown San Antonio for the children of freed African-American slaves. He was named in 1902 as an anti-slavery speaker and politician. In 1915 the school was relocated to its present site as a high school. In 1932, it became Junior Secondary.
In the early 1970s, Douglas served as a school for grades 3 through 5. In 2002 the school expanded to include pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade with students attending the former Burnet Elementary campus on Barrera St. In 2004, 6th grade was added and the school became a pre-kindergarten through 6th grade academy. Students and staff returned to their home campuses when the construction project was completed in August.
The new school is yet to be named
San Antonio Independent School District trustees and district leaders join students from Foster and Schenck elementary schools Sept. 21 at SAISD’s newest campus, located in the 9200 block of South Presa Street. The new academy, which is the first school the district has established in 40 years, will serve the educational needs of SAISD’s growing student population in the southeast region.
The planned two-story academy—not yet named–will accommodate 750 students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade on an 18-acre site. The exterior of the building will be reminiscent of the nearby historical missions. The early grades at this San Antonio school will feature elementary-level playgrounds and learning spaces equipped for education, physical education and music. Upper class classrooms will include an art room, a science lab and two music rooms with acoustic areas for band, choir, orchestra or mariachi.
Plans for the new San Antonio school include a competition gymnasium with locker space for girls and boys, a practice field for football/soccer, a multipurpose field, a computer lab, a library and a cafeteria for various school activities. The $20.6 million cost of the construction project will come from interest earned through the district’s bond programs. The school will serve families in the new Mission Creek subdivision and nearby neighborhoods where students currently attend Foster and Schenck Elementary Schools and Connell Middle School.
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