By spring 2019, the construction of San Antonio Independent School District’s (SAISD) new headquarters is scheduled to begin on the Fox Tech football field, which is used everyday by students enrolled in the district’s Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) and The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST Tech) schools.
The development, adjacent to the newly-opened San Pedro Creek Culture Park, will consist of 150,000 square feet of office space and a parking garage. The district’s plans have also irked some parents for the lack of proper notice.
In February, SAISD board agreed to sell its Lavaca neighborhood property, home to some of its administrative offices, to Broadway SA Investors GP, a company connected to Pearl developer Silver Ventures. Currently, some SAISD administrators are still operating from the Lavaca buildings and have until August 2020 — when a lease back with Broadway SA expires — to build and move into its new offices.
Revenue from the $14.5 million sale of the 4.74-acre Lavaca property will be used toward construction of the new offices, the San Antonio Express-News reported in February.
Last night, SAISD officials held the first of three meetings with parents and students — other meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. July 25 and Aug. 22 at the Fox Tech campus, which houses ALA and CAST Tech.
SAISD Chief Operations Officer Willie Burroughs said the matter of building the new headquarters on the Fox Tech site is a done deal. However, the district is still seeking input on what to do with the extra non-office space. A parent told the Heron that Burroughs described it as a “strip of green space along San Pedro Creek.”
“We’ve certainly heard very loud and clear in terms of the green space and in terms of what parents would like to see,” Burroughs said. “Tonight is really to get that input in terms of what stakeholders, parents and anyone that was in attendance tonight want and really go back and start to put together a plan.”
It was an emotional time for parents who have students enrolled in the ALA and CAST Tech schools. The students use the field every day for their PE classes.
Most parents seemed to be caught off guard by the news of the new administrative building, including Corina Mader who has two children enrolled in the campus. Mader said she received a phone call about a new building, but the notification didn’t include information about its relation to the football field. It wasn’t until she saw a post on Facebook that she realized she needed to attend the meeting.
“I wasn’t aware of the importance because it didn’t seem to be reflective of what was going to happen to the students,” Mader said.
Anya Sorensen, whose daughter is enrolled in the ALA program at Fox Tech, said she heard about the meeting at the last minute through Facebook, too.
“When we came we were under the impression that it was an idea being tossed around, but it’s already been decided,” Sorensen said. “At this point, what people have a say in is the use of the space that is going to be left over.”
Milly Elliott has three children enrolled with the ALA program, ranging from first to sixth grade. She thinks that if the district should make changes to the baseball field that’s adjacent to the campus.
“If they would take the baseball field, and take some of the parking area, and give us a full-sized field, we’ll be OK and the kids wouldn’t have to cross a busy street,” Elliott said. “It wouldn’t be ideal, but it would work and it would be OK.”
Featured photo by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron