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San Antonio Independent School District Welcome New Additions
Current and former students, community members and staff from San Antonio schools gathered in the historic auditorium of Douglass Academy on Sept. 26 for a homecoming celebration and dedication ceremony to mark the completion of a major construction and renovation project at the school.
“Douglass Academy has a rich history and tradition. Our children here have inherited that history, and they have the potential to become anything they want to be,” District Superintendent Dr. Robert J. Durón said on the scene where legend has it that Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and BB King once performed.
With $9.3 million from the San Antonio Independent School District’s 1997 bond program, improvements to the school included classroom renovations in the three-story school built in 1915, the auditorium and gymnasium. A building that previously served as a professional store has been transformed into a library.
A new construction added a wing with classrooms, a kitchen and a cafeteria to this school in San Antonio. Two courtyards, a central tower housing an elevator and a stairwell connect the old to the new for accessibility.
With a total area of 73,692 square feet, the facility accommodates 450 students, including those in the Life Strides and Early Childhood programs.
The auditorium’s original wood flooring and seating were carefully renovated and reinstalled at this San Antonio school by District Factory Services crews. The stage and the walls have also been repainted.
“Not only do we have new things that we’re excited about, but we’re also honoring so much of the history of this school,” said Principal Melanie Herr-Zepeda.
The colors, tiles, and textures of the campus walls express the African-American and Mexican-American cultures of the neighborhood surrounding this San Antonio school. “This school is truly steeped in history. We honor the neighborhood for what it is now and yet honor where this school came from,” added Herr-Zepeda.
The origin of Douglass Academy dates back to 1869, when it opened its doors to the children of freed African-American slaves in what is now downtown San Antonio. In 1902 he was nominated for anti-slavery orator and statesman. The school was moved as a grammar school to its present site in 1915. It became a college in 1932.
Beginning in 1970, Douglass served as a 3rd through 5th grade school. In 2002, while students attended Burnet Elementary’s old campus on Barrera St., the school expanded to include pre-K through 2nd grade. In 2004, the 6th grade was added, making the school a pre-kindergarten through 6th grade academy. Students and staff returned to their home campuses when the construction project was completed in August.
New school yet to be named
San Antonio Independent School District administrators and district leaders join students from Foster and Schenck Elementary Schools to officially open SAISD’s new campus, located in the 9200 block of South Presa Street, Sept. 21. The new academy, which is the first school established by the district in 40 years, will meet the educational needs of a growing student population in the southeast SAISD sector.
The planned two-story academy — which has yet to be named — will house 750 students from pre-K through 8 on the 18-acre site. The building will have an exterior design reminiscent of nearby historic missions. The first grades of this San Antonio school will have playgrounds and elementary-level learning spaces equipped for teaching, physical education and music. Upper classes will include an art room, science labs, and two music rooms with acoustic areas for band, choir, orchestra, or mariachi.
Plans for the new school in San Antonio also include a competitive gym with girls’ and boys’ locker rooms, football/soccer practice grounds, a multi-purpose field, computer labs, a library, and a children’s cafe. various school activities. The cost of the construction project will be $20.6 million funded by interest earned from 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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