Del Valle ISD held its grand opening for Newton Collins Elementary School. The school is named in honor of Newton Isaac Collins, Sr.
Collins, Sr. was a freed slave and Austinite who purchased acres of land in the 1800's and donated it back to the community in the name of education. He used his own resources to establish a school for African American students.
"What we want to do is make sure that the legacy of the family and the legacy of the Newton Collins is taught and learned so when they come through here they understand what it is their apart of," Del Valle ISD Board President Rebecca Birch says.
The school is 99,000 square feet with a classroom capacity of 800 students. It's designed to provide flexibility for future academic needs and has a commons area with exterior and interior windows that bring in natural lighting.
Principal Suzi Gonzales says, "We will see a variety of learning environments (and) different seatings. We will have flexible arrangements for students. So they can learn no matter what their learning style is."
Dozens of family members of Collins, Sr. and school administrators attended the grand opening ceremony. Birch says naming the school after Collins, Sr. was a good decision.
"The school district was delighted to I mean what else could we do except honor a gentlemen who honored education and valued landownership and valued community which is exactly what we want for all of our students," Birch says.
The school will house pre-K through 5th Grade.
Ron Collins says his great-great grandfather would have been proud and say he hopes projects like this continue.