Teachers and parents reflect on T.A. Brown Elementary as demolition crews tear it down

- T.A. Brown Elementary: finished in 1957, named after longtime Austin ISD principal Timothy Alvin Brown according to the district.

As the walls came crashing down Tuesday morning, Jeanne Black looked on as the school she taught in from 1974 to1987 became a pile of rubble.

"I had very good feelings while I was here but I do understand that there was a lot of structure problems.  So to be safe with our children, it needed to happen," she said.

Austin ISD said last November structural engineers gave the school a poor rating. 

"They let us know that it was unsafe for students and we closed it immediately for student safety," said Cristina Nguyen with Austin ISD.

Students were moved to the nearby Barrington Elementary.  T.A. Brown students are still there this school year.

Nguyen said T.A. Brown is one of 16 campuses that will either be rebuilt or updated depending on the results of a $1.05 billion bond election next month.

"If the bond does pass, T.A. Brown is scheduled for a fast track so it could start construction as soon as this summer with a proposed opening date in 2020," Nguyen said.

But what if the bond doesn't pass?

"Keeping T.A. Brown and Barrington students at one location is not a sustainable solution so AISD will continue to look at other options including sending students to surrounding campuses," she said.

Christopher Garcia's daughter is one of the T.A. Brown students at Barrington.  Garcia and his wife are PTA members.

"We're definitely not for them tearing down the school you know, if there's a new opportunity we're definitely for that.  But we're very worried because we're not sure if we're going to get the vote to get the money allocated to rebuild the school," he said.

Garcia thinks tearing it down was premature.

"They have hidden agendas you know at the end of the day it's politics," Garcia said.

He's hoping voters will say "yes" to the bond.

"Absolutely 100% we've been supporting it after since they found the news that they were going to shut it down.  We wanted to find a solution and we wanted to find it quick as to how we were going to go about rebuilding the school and continuing on T.A. Brown you know we don't want to lose the school," Garcia said.

Retired teacher Jeanne Black is hoping her school gets rebuilt.  She says seeing it come down is a little sad.

"Yes it is but I have to look forward you know and think about what it can be and that it can be better.  You know how life is, it changes and you just have to go with the change," Black said.
 

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