On January 8th, 2020, T.A. Brown 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 a performance by the T.A. Brown Elementary School Choir and remarks from Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD Board of Trustees President Geronimo Rodriguez, District 3 Trustee Ann Teich, and T.A. Brown Principal Veronica Sharp.
T.A. Brown Elementary School has been designed as a green school rooted in science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics, and outdoor learning. The facility will focus on sustainability, health and well-being, transparency, and a connection to the community. A key desire among community members was to retain the existing trees, which helped inform the building orientation and site features including driveways, parking, and landscaping.
All information received through an extensive process that engaged teachers, parents, and students led to a roadmap for the design of the school. In this way, the community was a partner in shaping the look and feel of the modernized T.A. Brown Elementary. Examples of unique design features that arose from the Campus Architectural Team (CAT) meetings include the three zones of the school: a rectangle, dubbed the ‘Colony’; a circle, dubbed the ‘Treehouse’; and a triangle, dubbed the ‘Den’. Another example is the Sombrilla, which is a shade structure, that provides a welcoming area at the front entry.
The school boasts unique learning environments, such as maker spaces, a community room, a media resource center, and a learning staircase. The entry courtyard is known as the ‘reading labyrinth’ to encourage literacy for all who enter.
Of course, Mr. T.A. Brown’s legacy was an influence on the design of the school as well. T.A. Brown was a principal at Pease Elementary for 41 years, and his career represented high character and devotion to education. It is our hope this building will continue his legacy.
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, as well as the T.A. Brown Campus Architectural Team, AECOM, and Rogers O’Brien Construction whose dedication and time throughout the planning and design process have made this school a reality.