A groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday on the new site of Eastside Memorial High School in East Austin. The high school will be located in the former L.C. Anderson High School, which closed in 1971 after a judge desegregated Austin schools.
The Anderson building will get an $80 million renovation, but the Austin Independent School District has promised to retain certain aspects of the building to preserve its legacy. The front of the school will remain the same and a historical gallery will be installed.
At Saturday's event, Johnnie Mae Coleman Overton, who graduated from Anderson in 1952, asked the school board and district administration to make sure these projects happen.
"You have promised to do your part to make legacy meet the future," she said. "In the days ahead, I hope you will remember a promise made is a promise kept.”
Voters passed a bond in 2017 that included relocating Eastside Memorial to address space concerns. The current building is undercapacity, with a lot of space unsused. The new building will be smaller and better accomodate the student population.
The new building will also include the International High School, which serves students new to the country. The Liberal Arts and Science Academy, meanwhile, will move from the LBJ High School campus into the current Eastside Memorial building.
When the renovated school opens in 2021, it will be the newest Career Launch campus, which allows students to earn college credit and certificates in certain fields. Eastside Memorial is partnering with Dell Medical to offer a health science program.
Pamela Nesby McCullough, a 1966 graduate of Anderson, told the crowd she hopes these opportunities for students create a new legacy in East Austin.
"It is our hope you feel the pride, the excellence, the honor and the integrity that the classes of 1907 through 1971 – of the original L.C. Anderson High School – felt as students," she said.