AUSTIN, Texas - After being separated into two campuses when theirs was found structurally unsafe the students of T.A. Brown Elementary are back together again. And Tuesday they got a special visit from AISD’s superintendent.
On Tuesday Dr. Paul Cruz stopped by the new T.A. Brown Elementary which happens to be located on the campus of Mollie Barrington Elementary.
He, along with the interim chiefs of APD and AISD PD had lunch with the kids and then headed to check out the temporary home of T.A. Brown students.
In November of last year the district abruptly closed the T.A. Brown campus when a facility assessment found the floor was unsafe.
The grades were split between two schools.
"We did have some feelings of sadness, of being nervous,” said Principal Veronica Sharp.
Sharp said she did her best to keep the students positive.
"A building did not define our community and it would not let us stop. Never give up. Perseverance is what we taught throughout the year. Resiliency is what we taught and how to work through change,” said Sharp.
That message will likely continue as the students will remain in portables for at least the next two years.
"It feels like home. It's closer to home and parents are so thrilled,” said Sharp.
The old T.A. Brown is currently in the demolition phase. If a bond package is approved this November, construction on a new campus would be fast-tracked with a start date of June 2018.
Dr. Cruz said the new school will feature spaces for individual learning as well as community areas with state-of-the-art technology.
For him, Tuesday is a happy day to see all of the kids in one place a request of parents.
"When they talked about proximity, being closer to home they also said it was really important to keep the campus together. That was job one. That was something we're able to deliver on that,” said Cruz. "The schools are sharing their spaces. They are working together. They are learning together. They're having lunch together so it's opening up a larger, broader community."
Still Sharp looks to the day T.A. Brown is re-built. She said there is great value in having their own space.
"So that our community knows they matter, that we have new opportunities in that same area. They're close to home. It will be a neighborhood school,” said Sharp.