education
4:25 pm
Fri November 12, 2010

Austin ISD to Dedicate New Southwest Elementary School

The Austin Independent School District will officially dedicate its newest elementary school on Sunday at 2 p.m. Ross F. Baldwin Elementary was constructed over the course of a year at 12200 Meridian Park Blvd. in southwest Austin.  Students have been attending since the beginning of the school year.

The area has some of the most high-achieving schools in the district, but many are overcrowded because of rapid population growth. Mills Elementary, for example, operates at 139 percent capacity. The southwest Austin elementary schools Baranoff, Blazier, Clayton, Cowan, Kiker, Langford, Menchaca, Perez, and Widen all operate over the district's ideal maximum capacity of 105 percent.

Baldwin Elementary should help to ease some of that overcrowding, although the process to redraw boundaries around Baldwin was often contentious and political.

"This school is the seventh of eight new schools which were funded through the 2004 Apple at Work bond program," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News. "The only school we have left to build [with that bond money], which is an elementary school, is in central North Austin."

The biggest obstacle to completing that school is the search for a piece of land that is big enough yet in a good location, Luevanos said. AISD is also shopping for a parcel of land in South Austin to build another high school.

The Sunday dedication is likely to include student performances and comments from Ross Baldwin's family.  Baldwin was "a student mentor at Joslin Elementary School for nearly 30 years, mentoring several students each year," according to a press release from AISD.  "A successful business owner, he founded Baldwin Beauty Schools and was an active member of the Oak Hill Rotary Club for more than 25 years. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 82."