AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin has purchased an 2.4-acre site with the intent of building a permanent University of Texas Elementary School campus on the urban parcel east of downtown Austin. Documents for the purchase were signed by university officials recently in Austin.
Austin developer Perry Lorenz, who had owned the site for several years, sold the property to the university for $1.5 million, about $1 million less than the fair market value of the property, according to a recent appraisal by the university.
"UT Elementary School provides an excellent education to children in east Austin and has become an important part of this community," said Lorenz. "I am happy to do what I can to see that UT Elementary School becomes a permanent fixture in east Austin."
The University of Texas System Board of Regents authorized the purchase during its July 11 meeting in Austin. The board also authorized the transfer of $1.945 million from the Available University Fund for purchase of the land and funding for other items related to the elementary school, including capital improvements.
UT Elementary School, a public charter school that opened in 2003 at 2200 E. Sixth St. in east Austin, is operated by The University of Texas at Austin and has used portable classrooms on the site leased by the university.
The purchase allows the university to move forward with plans to build a permanent campus for UT Elementary School on the same site, said Dr. Ramona Treviño, principal of the school.
UT Elementary, which serves 260 students in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth, was recently rated "exemplary" by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It was one of only a handful of charter elementary schools in the state to earn TEA’s highest annual rating. Only students who live within a five-ZIP-code area of east Austin may apply to attend the school. Students are selected by lottery from among those who apply. The school, which incorporates cutting-edge research into its curriculum, serves mostly minority students who come from economically disadvantaged households.
Preliminary design and cost estimates for a new 50,000-square-foot campus to be built on the site, and an adjacent half-acre site, are being completed by the university. The school’s development council, consisting of the university’s alumni and other volunteers, will lead efforts to raise funds to build the new building once those plans are finalized.
"Perry’s generous gift is wonderful news for this project," said Ed Sharpe, professor of educational administration at The University of Texas at Austin and chairman of the UT Elementary School Management Board. "Now that the university owns the land we can move forward with the campaign to raise the money to build the new school."
In addition to Lorenz’s gift, $1.1 million has been pledged for building the new school campus by the Buena Vista Foundation and $250,000 has been donated by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.