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Tesla's factory opening is expected to draw thousands, so Del Valle is closing schools early

A Tesla showroom at the Domain
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
As many as 15,000 people are expected to attend the opening of Tesla's $1 billion factory in eastern Travis County.

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Del Valle Independent School District will close early Thursday ahead of the grand opening of Tesla's gigafactory in eastern Travis County.

As many as 15,000 people are expected to attend the opening of the electric carmaker's $1 billion factory. The event, which starts at 4 p.m. and is expected to last until about midnight, will include tours and live music.

In a letter to the community, the district said it expected traffic in the area to begin as elementary schools let out, and create delays as middle and high school students head home.

The new dismissal times are:

  • Middle schools, 12:45 p.m.
  • Elementary schools, 1:45 p.m.
  • High school, 3 p.m.
  • The district's alternative education and Opportunity Center programming, 3 p.m.
  • The district will not have after-school care or its LEAD programs.

The Travis County Commissioners Court OK'd a permit for the Tesla event late last month. The county fire marshal's office approved Tesla's plans for staffing, traffic mitigation, security and safety.

The event, dubbed a Cyber Rodeo, caps off the factory's yearslong construction and a recent ramp-up in production. CEO Elon Musk has said the factory began production on the electric carmaker's Model Y late last year. The factory is expected to produce its Cybertruck model, as well.

Musk has said the project aims to invest $10 billion in the Austin area over the next decade. The project sought and received millions in tax breaks from both Del Valle ISD and Travis County.

Tesla moved its headquarters from California to Austin in October.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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