More than a year after its symbolic “groundbreaking” (the chiming of bells to “ring in the new,” as no ground was broken in a literal sense at the event), demolition work is completed and the renovation of the main building on Austin Community College’s Rio Grande campus is kicking into gear. Central Texas firms Studio8 and Overland Partners are collaborating on design for the project to restore and update the well-known city of Austin historical landmark.
Built in 1915, the brick structure was first used as a junior high school, then as the home of Austin High School for many years before becoming the flagship campus of the community college in 1975.
Included in the planned renovation are a three-level learning lab to be integrated into the campus library; two enclosed courtyards; six spaces for science labs, classrooms, offices, student services, and student life; and an expanded space for ACC’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community. In addition, campus grounds will be reconfigured with park-like spaces.
The exterior of the building will also be restored in a manner that protects and preserves the historic structure. Those renovations will be limited to changes that restore aspects of the original appearance while bringing it into compliance with with current codes and standards.
The long-anticipated renovation is intended to employ sustainable building practices to enhance the comfort, safety, and well-being of those who use the campus—as well as to foster student success and improve accessibility for all users.
The project is expected to be completed by April 2020.