On January 10th, 2020, Menchaca Elementary School celebrated the grand opening of their new modernized campus, one of the first projects to be completed as part of the 2017 Bond Program. The ceremony included performances by the Paredes Middle School and the Akins Early College High School Bands and remarks from Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD Board of Trustees President Geronimo Rodriguez and Vice President Cindy Anderson, and Menchaca Principal Eliza Loyola.
Originally built as a one-room schoolhouse, the rich history of Menchaca Elementary School began in the late 1800s and was named after Tejano Army Officer José Antonio Menchaca. The new facility is the fifth version of the Menchaca Elementary School in the community. The modernized 98,600-square-foot campus was originally conceived as a single building with interior circulation, but the design evolved through an extensive process that engaged teachers, parents, and students.
The ground-up design for Menchaca Elementary School illustrates how a commitment to community engagement, research, and innovative learning environments can change the course of a campus. Early discussions focused on broad concepts, such as the natural beauty of the site, which included several mature Texas oak trees. The end result is a collection of three buildings with shaded outdoor collaboration spaces designed around the heritage oak trees.
The buildings form two courtyards linked by a second-story bridge that houses an innovative library media center and maker spaces specifically designed for the school. More than 30 percent of the site is open, vegetated space, creating direct links between the outdoors and learning environments. Sustainability and energy efficiency were also baked into every aspect of the design. The new school is an Austin Energy Green Building and the campus is designed to meet LEED Silver certification, including a commitment to air quality and overall wellness for the students and faculty.
Special thanks to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees, teachers and team members, the Facilities and Bond Planning Advisory Committee and the Community Bond Oversight Committee, the Menchaca Campus Architectural Team, AECOM, LPA Inc., and Joeris General Contractors whose dedication and time throughout the planning and design process have made this school a reality.